Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (Part Five – Final)

Monday, 16 January 2017

Hello, again, I’m C. Reider. I release most of my own music for free on the internet, and I listen to a lot of music by people who do the same. This is a list of free-to-download releases from 2016 that I liked a lot.

My reason for doing these lists is so that people will discover music that I think deserves to be discovered. Please share this list with anyone you know who may take an interest!

I’ve done lists like this for several years, here are previous years’ lists:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

These lists have been getting really long, because I listen to a lot of music over the course of a year, so for my sanity and yours, I’m going to break up this end of year list into several smaller lists. This strategy will also allow me to consider albums released late in the year, while still being able to raise the profile of cool stuff from earlier in the year. This is part FIVE of the big list, and it is the final part of this 2016 round-up. Here are links to the previous installments:

LINK TO PART ONE
LINK TO PART TWO
LINK TO PART THREE
LINK TO PART FOUR

The ordering of these releases is completely arbitrary, no ranking is intended, and none should be inferred. I like everything I’m listing here to varying degrees, but ranking is a silly activity that helps exactly no one form their own opinion about music.

I should clarify that by saying these are netlabel releases, I don’t necessarily mean they were released on proper netlabels, many of these albums were self released. To me, netlabeling is a community activity, involving releasing music online for free (or pay what you want)…
preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license…
and EVEN MORE preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license that allows for remixability and sampling. So I use the word “netlabel” even though the word is admittedly problematic. You could just see this as links to a bunch of free music if you wanted to keep things simple.

This is the final part of this end of year round-up of freely downloadable music. There are 99 releases described in total across the five parts of this series.

Here is some information about the releases described:










Anyway, that’s some kinda cool info if you’re into statistics.

So let’s get into the last batch of free music!




Toaster – Divorce Songs EP
https://toaster.bandcamp.com/album/divorce-songs-ep
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self released

Some very nice, grooving, IDM-ish song tapestries with warm synth pads and bopping tick-tock drum patterns.




Reid Karris – Lacrimis de ex Arborum
https://plustimbre.bandcamp.com/album/lacrimis-de-ex-arborum
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Plus Timbre

A bevy of improvisations using percussion and electric guitar, each named after a different species of tree. Predictably sounds like a bunch of biscuit tins falling down a very long staircase (in a good way).




Morten Rasz – Primal Spirits
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr197-morten-rasz-primal-spirits/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

Morten Rasz, née Martin Rach is a prolific and inventive experimental artist. He presents work with a cornucopia of different approaches and styles, under a dizzying array of aliases, not all of which I can keep up with. He recently showed me a short video demonstrating a little synth that reads a graphic wave table that can be ‘drawn in’ in real-time with a mouse on a computer screen, like a scaled-down, digital version of Oramics. I suspect that’s what he’s using on this 30 minute collection of electronic music. Pops and buzzes accumulate and tumble all over one another, framed by sections that are either quiet or out of hearing range.




Ian Watson – …
https://ianwatson.bandcamp.com/album/-
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self released

Three long (35-45 minutes each) sickly, denuded, bitcrushed drone tracks.




Tobias Reber – Kolapse
https://tobiasreber.bandcamp.com/album/kolapse
Licenses vary per song
Self released

This album (mostly remixes by guest artists) presents a kind of prog-industrial, quasi-dance-oriented, percussive, electronic music. The pieces are by turns hard nosed or slightly more subdued. There is a kind of steely, considered complexity to the music, holding firm the squiggling sound design. While there is a fair amount of variety here, and while each track can be bracing (some more than others, of course) when taken as an album it can be slightly fatiguing.




Jøn Liefhold – Argusterfelder A-C
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/argusterfelder-a-c
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles


A nicely composed set of ringing high frequencies, crackling loops, pendular keyboard phrases, angel choruses and unidentifiable, distorted scrapings. Constantly shifting into new scenarios of pretty sounds and silences.




Luong Hue Trinh – Illusions
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/luong_hue_trinh/illusions/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

The introductory fanfare is a startling recording of breaking / bouncing glass bottles, followed immediately by a very quiet drone that builds on itself slowly, introducing mechanical rumbling, factory floor whirring and Bertoia-esque gongs. This first piece is a musical collage of field recordings made in an industrial district in Vietnam. The machine noises are joined by fragments of music played on Vietnamese lutes and zithers. The artist statement describes the string music as a traditional style, evoking a longing for home. Pairing that with the factory sounds gives the music an emotional and political punch. A very beautiful and charged album.




Méryll Ampe – Void if Removed
https://archive.org/details/at083_MeryllAmpe_VoidIfRemoved
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Audiotalaia

An intense, complex collection of electronic noise compositions, with crisp sounds and inventive arrangements.




Gabi Losoncy – 16f
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab114.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

The cover photo for this hour and twenty minute long field recording situates it historically within the alarming horror of the American election season of 2016. The recording is an urban soundscape, milling city activity as heard from the relative peace and quiet of a docile area, just slightly removed from the bustle. Possibly the recording was made in the café pictured in the cover photo. Pairing the calm mundanity of this everyday scene with the Daily News headline declaring Donald Trump as “RACIST!” in all capitals perhaps reflects the banality of such a monumentally historic moment. As placid as the recording is (occasional, sporadic emergency announcements notwithstanding), I can’t help but wonder how the sounds of places like this might change given the global instability of politics at the moment. Aside from the possible historic implications of recordings of this nature, it’s also just a pleasant thing to listen to, especially when doing something tedious, like paperwork.




Hinnerk Schmidt – Camas
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/camas
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

A laboriously slow, repeating piano phrase muffled by a blanket of tape hiss, a hint of maybe clarinet or ebowed guitar shows through, threatening to develop into something larger, but instead retreating, giving way to that ever cycling piano loop. On ‘Seite B’ the piano is even more distant, cloaked in reverb and heavily foregrounded tape hiss. Rather than only one phrase cycling throughout, however, this piece has more indeterminate playing, still delivered in that very slow pace. Haunting stuff.




Book of Kells – Depiction of Saturn and Other Planets Floating in Space
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/depiction-of-saturn-and-other-planets-floating-in-space
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Twenty seven brief songs for a little over an hour’s worth of material here. The music is one of seeming restrained longing, where synth tones resonate and linger in long, lo-fi reverb tails. It’s simple and minimal, but effective. The title implies that this might be some sort of space music, but it feels pretty grounded to me.




Budhaditya Chattopadhyay – Wandering Shadows of Sound
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab116.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

Wind over water. Rain with cars and trucks passing. A steadily rattling quack that I think may be a spinning weather vane, perhaps. Quiet, rural activity. Unidentifiable sounds from mechanical and organic sources. The presence of humanity is heard throughout, but it doesn’t often become overt, only occasionally does a human voice pierce my attention. I haven’t listened to very many field recordings this year, for several reasons. This is definitely a good exception.




Escape Hatch / Thekla Munk – Brise / Vitre
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/brise-vitre
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Two ten minute long pieces from each band on this split. ‘Brise’ by Escape Hatch starts off like something from Aphex Twin’s perennial SAW II, but adds some noisy scratchings that sound like the labored channel searching of a burned out old car radio. This quick cuts into a lo-fi drone which then scoots aside from some tone pulses and finally into some ghostly piano. Wow, a lot of nice variety for such a brief piece, and still it sounds full and unrushed. Thekla Munk’s ‘Vitre’ has textured sounds feeling like a raging thunderstorm just outside a high speed rail line on which sad Dadaists shuffle cards. This track is probably the noisiest thing I’ve heard so far on Midnight Circles. A triumphant split, very nice stuff.




Scy1e – 2 Untitled for CTRL Valve
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog/2361758/ctrlvlv063__scy1e__2-untitled-for-ctrl-valve/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Control Valve

I was very happy to have discovered this group earlier in 2016 with their excellent release on Phinery called “Canard”, which was sort of an unmoored minimal techno-industrial music. This release features two hour-long tracks and is significantly less focussed, but that’s not really anything so bad. It’s abstract modular synth noodling with room to stretch out and tweak.




Chemiefaserwerk – 4
https://etchedtraumas.bandcamp.com/album/4
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Etched Traumas

Following on from my good experience with their work on Midnight Circles, I was happy to find another new release on the Etched Traumas netlabel. This is another well considered mesh of textured noise and harmonic-heavy dronings with sudden edits to keep things away from becoming too comfortable. This is absolutely a name I’m going to be looking for going forward. High quality music.




Floating Mind – Deep Reflections
http://www.inoquo.com/release.php?&id=75
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
InoQuo

This is minimal techno music that, when it’s at its best sounds like alien neon bar music, but also has many sections that are just bippity-boppity drum patterns with off-beat hi-hats. I would love to see more minimal techno producers work more in ambiguity, but the lure of the oontz is strong. Not bad, could be better.




Half Evidence – Graines de silences
https://eg0cide.com/2016/06/26/eg0_166-half-evidence-graines-de-silence/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Eg0cide

A group that can be counted on for thoughtful, well-constructed, abstract guitar music. This one is fairly intense and dark, sounds like the mother ship landing outside a machine shop.




Aaron Yabrov – Glass Forest
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/glass-forest
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

An ambient piece with a looping foundation of organ rocking back and forth between dissonance and consonance. Over this, some whispy, proto-melodic synth phrases flit by, cloaked in reverb. Quite nice.




Amanda Irarrazabal / Cecilia López / Cecilia Quinteros – La Corporación
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr201-cecilia-lopez-amanda-irarrazabal-cecilia-quinteros-la-corporacion/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

Intense and attentive improvised music using cello, contrabass and synthesizer. A lot of patience, space and give and take. The anti-capitalist song titles are a bonus.




Asha Tamirisa – Callus / Redux
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr198-asha-tamirisa-callus-redux/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas

First piece is a long, very slowly modulating drone, comparable in sensibility to the Arp work of Eliane Radigue, (and indeed the notes say it was recorded using an Arp 2500 system). The second piece introduces an aqueous field recording, perhaps at a lake, joined later by more Arp droneage.




Atilio Doreste / José Guillén – This Side of Paradise
https://archive.org/details/at082DoresteGuillen
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Audiotalaia

Free improv with acoustic allsorts and understated fart-synth. Some tracks are either recorded outside or are augmented with field recordings. I was very fond of Doreste’s 2014 release “Shifting Boundaries”, and this is a worthy follow-up.




Javier Piñango – i.r.real 8
https://plustimbre.bandcamp.com/album/i-r-real-8
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Plus Timbre

Deep electronic musique concrete made with Korg MS-20. Like a great set of bells being sandblasted by swarming waves of insects.




Minimalnun – And
http://www.inoquo.com/release.php?id=74
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
InoQuo

Lowercase minimal techno-ambient that oontzes along with kick drums made of wet towels. Soft thuds abound.




Savvas Metaxas / Dalot – It Can Only be Attributable to Human Error
http://www.notype.com/drones/cat.e/pan_094/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
No Type + Panospria

I can be assured that when I find work by Dalot’s Maria Papadomanolaki, I will discover some wonderful, restrained, soft, mature drone music. Here, there is no exception. I’m not so familiar with Savvas Metaxas, but I can say that this is a very well paired split release.




SM Milligan – The Fortification of Ears
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab122.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

A very well made work using collage editing to dramatize a large set of field recordings.


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