Archive for the recommended listening Category

Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (Part Five – Final)

Monday, 01 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 sandblasting 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 involved, 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.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (part four)

Saturday, 01 January 2017

Hi, 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.
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 FOUR of the big list, I will post links just below this line of other parts as I publish them.

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

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.

You can be notified when the next part of this year-end list gets published by either following me on twitter @vuzhmusic or by subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog’s “Recommended Listening” category:
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/blog/category/recommended-listening/feed/




Pollux – &+
https://pollux0.bandcamp.com/album/-
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

A compilation / remix album that sounds like it started down the path toward being calming, sunlit, and ambient… but as things progressed, things blurred, got more fractured and granular and gained enough instability to give the album a bit of an unsettling feel. Not “dark” precisely, just slightly “off” – things feel a little skittish and tense-muscled. To be clear, this “off-ness” I’m describing is what gives the work a bit more character than similar things I don’t quite find as good.




36 – Indigo / Expanse
http://3six.net/album/indigo-expanse
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

A fluffy bit of undemanding ambient techno that gives the nod, musically to both the Orb as well as Jean Michel Jarre, while still maintaining its own sound. Not my favorite from this group, but 36 is always worth a listen. They know how to do their stuff very well.




Catalan Coast – Catalan Coast
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/catalan-coast
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

A sort of stoic, minimalist art music that leans away from the ambient tag as much as it couldn’t be classified as much else. Reminds me a bit of the legendary Tear Ceremony, who did some of this kind of thing to some acclaim throughout the nineties & early 00s. The first track sets the pace with long, reedy tones in the upper-mid register, drones punctuated by short, crescendos of chords in the same voicing. Distant, soft pops could possibly be described as the percussion element of this piece. The second track is a shimmering tonal drone of ringing bells, looped. This is interrupted by some solemn, stringed chords. The final piece is a pretty, spare, melancholy repeating refrain that sounds like a duet between a concertina and a glass armonica in a big reverberant space. What it does, it does beautifully, and when it ends I would prefer it lingered a bit longer. I liked this so much that I had to get it on tape, and ended up getting a large batch from the label… and liked it all so much that I submitted my own music to the label for release. So I guess that you can infer my enthusiasm (or bias) from that.




Martin Hoogeboom – the Garden
https://etchedtraumas.bandcamp.com/album/the-garden
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Etched Traumas

Three brief tone poems made in tribute to Derek Jarman: e-bowed guitars, slowed-down laughing gas vocals, wet streets, backstreet clinics, steam vents. More interlude than destination.




Phil Maguire – Structuur
https://philmaguire.bandcamp.com/album/structuur
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self Released
Phil Maguire – This This
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/this-this
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional


A collection of what the composer calls “strangled sine waves”… Somone call the sine police! ‘Structuur’ is a dense knot of FM synthesis that churns constantly over high heat. On ‘This This’, the waves are more given to popping and bouncing off one another. There’s a lot more space here, sounding like circuit-bent crickets moving ever away from synchrony. Apparently all this stuff was made with Raspberry Pi, hm.




Project Mycelium – Pulse
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/pulse
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Linear Obsessional
Project Mycelium – Pyramiden
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/pyramiden
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional

My ears go up when I hear associations of mycelia with music, as I’m a bit of a mycophile. Nothing too overtly mushroomy to be found here, however, so fungiphobes are safe enough. ‘Pulse’ is a twenty minute long, almost soundtrack-ish bit of ambient proto-jazz that noodles around and eventually coalesces around a little calliope groove. ‘Pyramiden’ is equally brief, equally atmospheric, but it evokes darker spaces and isn’t likely to fall into any comforting groove. It’s all skitter, dart for cover and linger a while in hiding, waiting for danger to pass. Says in the notes that all sounds on ‘Pyramiden’ were made with water and steel.




Ave Eva – Panamint
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/panamint
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Minimal, pretty, synth music that leans toward the drone.




Reier – g(f(x))
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Reier/gfx/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Southern City’s Lab

I admit this first caught my attention due to the similarity with my name, but it’s stuck around because of its percolating noise synths and cold-filtered machine drones. The album by this Ukranian artist smartly oscillates between prettiness and technical difficulties.




Steve Hamann – Set and Subset
https://sighup.bandcamp.com/album/set-and-subset
CC BY NC (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self Released

A collection of new work from a composer I’ve been enthusiastic about for years. These synth-realized pieces are musical (i.e. tonal) constructions that call to mind the work of David Borden (of Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company) in that they’re serious pieces, but stripped back, uncomplex and repeating, conveying a kind of zen-like quality of “this is all this song needs to be”.




Schemawound – Heart Removal Kit
http://music.schemawound.com/album/heart-removal-kit
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self Released

In a not entirely surprising move, Schemawound steers his project – already diverse with industrial beat music and lyrical ambient works – into the area of psychedelic techno dub championed by people like Cevin Key & Ryan Moore. That he does it well is also no huge surprise. The production is slick and tight, the grooves are decent, and while melodic development has never been J. Siemasko’s strong point, nothing gets monotonous.




Thistle Group – Thistle Group (2016)
https://stabbiesetc.bandcamp.com/album/thistle-group-2016
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Stabbies Etc.

Brief seventeen minutes of what I presume are two sides to a tape release. Spooky little tunes with lo-fi sound loops, some percussive bashings, disaffected, post-goth-punk vocals and thoroughly fuzzed out basement-guitar plonkings.




Rashida Prime – Damaged Interface
https://bludhoney.bandcamp.com/album/damaged-interface
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
BludHoney

Serviceable, non-threatening, light, not especially intellectually stimulating ambient chill music. The kind of thing that apparently feels comfortable with having the word “cyberpunk” associated with it. I do rather like to listen to this kind of stuff early in the morning, when I’m traumatized by waking up and having to go to work. The album has been released by two different labels. The one I downloaded it from changed from a free download to charging a dollar, but the one I’m linking to now, in keeping with the theme of this end of year list, is pay what you want.




TVSky – What the Moon Brings
http://www.cyan-music.com/releases-060.html
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Cyan Music

Straight ahead, four on the floor minimal techno that sounds like it could easily have come out on the DeepChord label back in the early 00s. It’s really as good as any of that stuff was. I’m always surprised that new artists are still doing such on the nose stuff almost twenty years later, because it really seems like such a musical dead-end, but I must admit I still like listening to it. I have my reasons, so I reckon they have theirs too.




Vavabond – No-Brain Improv
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/vavabond/no-brain_improv/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

The title brings to mind Alvin Lucier’s brain wave piece “Music for Solo Performer”. I don’t believe that this group followed a similar method, as the description only discusses aspects of improvisation with body impulse as opposed to mental consideration, but Lucier’s description of his experience of performing the piece does talk about getting out of the conscious frame of mind in order for it to work at all. At any rate, I am not certain what the three credited performers are doing to make this very, very nice set of electronic clicks and buzzes that are sparsely arranged. There is not a huge amount of textural variance throughout the album, but to me it is a strong and fascinating collection of sounds.




Prone – Grand Theft Honda Civic
https://prone1.bandcamp.com/album/grand-theft-honda-civic
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

Techno for alien milk bars. Perfect weird Eurorack grooves, for staring off with stoned fascination at your nearest lava lamp equivalent. This is actually one of my favorite releases overall from 2016, I really dig it.




Wëska Project – TV Mirror
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/TV+mirror/20190
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
HAZE

Tones flicker by like an old cathode ray tube TV set when the vertical hold is shot. Bursts of 60 cycle hum and crackle join in sporadically. Probably time to call the repairman.




Piod – Stage One 2013-2014
http://phonocake.org/release.php?release_id=235&lang=2
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Phonocake

Decent electronic dance music done with tasteful sounds. Sometimes gets a little Ableton-y, but I’ve enjoyed it.




Matthieu Lemontagne / Emmanuel Toledo – Belle Chemise
https://arbee.bandcamp.com/album/belle-chemise
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

Not a lot I can say about this other than it’s really some pretty, very well made ambient music. If you like pretty, well made ambient music, then you can’t go wrong here.




Faastwalker – Geometrics
http://www.kahvi.org/releases.php?release_number=371
No License Listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Kahvi Collective

Decent enough, mellow IDM, definitely could’ve fit right in back in the 90s when this stuff was so big. There were some parts that kinda reminded me of Wendy Carlos’ soundtrack for Tron, and another part where it’s overtly a cringey hommage to Boards of Canada. Otherwise, yeah…




Kamera Obscura – Speleology: Kamera Obscura Live
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/speleology-kamura-obscura-live
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional

Pairing vocals with abstract electronic noise soundscapes is an approach that is fraught with perils and missteps. As a result, I can’t point to very many who do it well, but can point to a crowded field of power-electronic bands fronted by wannabe shock-jocks, and singer/songwriters who try to niche themselves with extemporaneous weird sounds and come off as gimmicky and aggrandizing. Coil was one group that successfully pulled it off, but they had built up a lot of goodwill and willingness to “go there” on the part of their audience over the course of many years of their moving away from and stretching song structure (and never entirely abandoning it). It’s not entirely surprising, then, that Coil is explicitly referenced in Kamera Obscura’s music. There are similar song structures and vocal effects and an air of mystique. The vocals are sometimes melodic with words, and other times chatter in explorations aided by effect chains. Often the music has an on-the-fly feeling of being (at least partially) made up in real time, but I don’t know if that’s actually the case. Along with Coil, other influences, such as Blixa Bargeld, Diamanda Galas, and Magma are expressed in ways that are just slightly too close to the source to take fully seriously. I always have a certain level of admiration for someone who can go do some of this stuff in front of an audience using that must vulnerable of musical instruments, the human voice (especially a capella, as some sections are here), but ultimately I can’t say I’m entirely convinced yet. I think this is worth checking out, and I hope that in time there is potential for a fully realized, strong, unique voice to emerge.




Chemifaserwerk – Idatec
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/idatec
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Chemifaserwerk is a name I’ve seen around a bit, but this is the first thing I’ve listened to from them. If they’ve got a following, it seems deserved. This reminds me somewhat of the early, anything-goes ambient/industrial of Mark Spybey under his Dead Voices on Air moniker. Softly rattling drums, bike-spoke percussion, long-delay electronic buzzing, flitting fans, synth drones, field recordings and the like.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (part three)

Wednesday, 12 December 2016

Hi, 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.
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 THREE of the big list, I will post links just below this line of other parts as I publish them.

LINK TO PART ONE
LINK TO PART TWO
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.

You can be notified when the next part of this year-end list gets published by either following me on twitter @vuzhmusic or by subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog’s “Recommended Listening” category:
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/blog/category/recommended-listening/feed/




Martin Rach – Late Autumn Quartets
https://martinrach.bandcamp.com/album/late-autumn-quartets
Martin Rach – Piano Attic
https://martinrach.bandcamp.com/album/piano-attic
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

‘Late Autumn Quartets’ sounds like a room full of automatons dispassionately hammering on dulcimers, a child’s xylophone and perhaps a banjo or two. Whatever setup Martin is using to strike and excite his sound objects is put to good use here, revealing a decent variety of tone colors, even considering the relative staticity of the strange-attractor rhythms. The second half of the 4 track album integrates electronics, with the third track somewhat inexplicably meshing the clattering machines with electronic dance music, failing interestingly.
On ‘Piano Attic’ the titular instrument is played such that no easily identified repeating rhythm or melody can be discerned. The very slow pacing of the beginning of track one is joined by more rapid, digitally spasms of tinkling keys. The second track is a sample collage of sounds recorded by bonking, or prodding, or poking various less audibly identifiable territories on the instrument.




Miquel Parera and Computer – nxI2016-06-30_04_56_08
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Miquel_Parera/nxI2016-06-30_04_56_08/
Miquel Parera and Computer – nxI2016-07-03_04_33_13
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Miquel_Parera/nxI2016-07-03_04_33_13/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

If the code-like alphanumeric titles and co-credit given to his computer doesn’t entirely prepare you for the abstracted music collected on these two albums, then I’m not sure anything I say is gonna do the trick. Both of these collections have four tracks of consistent lengths, on ‘nxI2016-06-30_04_56_08′ each is five minutes fifty-nine, and on ‘nxI2016-07-03_04_33_13′ each one is seven minutes, two seconds. With this in mind, I guess we could claim that there is a discernable 4/4 rhythm on these two records! The buzzing soundscapes presented here do not signify meaning other than that of the math used to derive them, although they do seem to find some representation in the multicolored lattice-like tiles in the artwork to the two albums. If you need your music to have “soul”, then don’t look for it here. I’m so glad I don’t need any such imaginary thing.




Naoyuki Sasanami / Stabilo (speaker gain teardrop) – Immersive EP
https://stabilo-loadbang.bandcamp.com/album/immersive-ep
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

The two composers achieve a kind of stylistic unity, even though it appears they worked on their respective pieces separately. A very open sounding, minimalist, ambient music of suspended, mentholated synth-tones. Pretty, but light in bearing enough to avoid being cloying.




Nate Scheible – Breezewood
https://natescheible.bandcamp.com/album/breezewood
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

That tape loops are all the rage nowadays is okay by me. The waft and warble and fluttering cut-outs reflect a glitch aesthetic through the older technology, in this case augmented by noisey electronic effects and accompaniments. It’s a sort of shoegaze for tougher times than the nineties, (certainly a mopey decade, but not existentially threatening). Very impressive shit.




Noisesurfer – In Motion
https://archive.org/details/InMotiontafe-46
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Tape Safe Netlabel

Somewhat gritty little (maybe modular?) synth sketches. Not a whole lot of development or complexity, but those aren’t things I always need in music. Some tracks are characterized by whoofing bass overloads and repeating phrases that are modulated slowly as they go along. Other tracks have drum beats that kinda just grind along on rails, occasionally having glitch hiccups.




Norah Lorway – Drone Bølge
https://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/drone-b-lge
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Xylem Netlabel

Always a composer to watch for, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard from her up to this point. These are slow, airy drones with very sublimated tones that kind of threaten to break out into a larger, orchestral fanfare, but instead retreat back into reverb clouds.




Oscar Santis – Desde la Caja
https://pueblonuevo.cl/catalogo/desde-la-caja/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Pueblo Nuevo Netlabel

This is some of the best noise music I’ve heard all year. Dense, complex clumps of noise, in varying grits of abrasive power, spin out in rapid twitches from sometimes identifiable sources, such as ultra-detuned guitar. Other pieces seem more purely electronic. There really is a lot of variety and dynamics within these tangled pieces, not something that I can always say about noise. Correspondingly, the fatigue factor is pretty low. If you like weird sounds at all, don’t miss this one.




φορέας – Annoyances
https://citrusounds.bandcamp.com/album/annoyances
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Citrus Sounds

What do we call this now… Blade-Runner Ambient? A nice pile of short ambient pieces that are slightly neutral, slightly melancholy, slightly chilly, with sparse beats that occasionally butt-in and cause everything to get pumping-compression sickness.




Professional Flowers – Ars Botanica
https://professionalflowers.bandcamp.com/album/ars-botanica
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-Released

Some very nice synth noodlings with hissy field recordings. Yeah, it’s impossible for me to find fault with it, it’s just simple, charming music.




Thuuooom – Aste EP
http://texturalhealing.blogspot.com/2016/07/thuuooom-aste-ep.html
Thuuooom – Kaiut
https://archive.org/details/thuuooom-kaiut-thump313
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Textural Healing / Self-released

These are probably the most minimal things I’ll recommend this time. Drone music that permutates extremely slowly. Kaiut may be the more ‘progressive’ of the two, but not by so much.




tsone – The Earth’s Reply (tracks for Nagual)
https://tsone.bandcamp.com/album/the-earths-reply-tracks-for-nagual
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

Looping ambient music going through a process of breaking out of some low-lo-fi distortion process. Loses a bit of the inherent tension once the music smooths out, but it’s still nice enough.




psph.S – {enter / reenter / out}
https://archive.org/details/eg0_163
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Eg0cide

Having all the ingredients of your standard harsh noise performance, (feedback, fast-tweaking of effect pedals, twitchy abuse of contact mics…) but adding up to something a bit more reflective than reflexive.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (part two)

Sunday, 12 December 2016

Hi, 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.
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 TWO of the big list, I will post links just below this line of other parts as I publish them.

LINK TO PART ONE
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.

You can be notified when the next part of this year-end list gets published by either following me on twitter @vuzhmusic or by subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog’s “Recommended Listening” category:
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/blog/category/recommended-listening/feed/
–-




Eeem [eim] – Shades
https://eeem.bandcamp.com/album/shades
Eeem [eim] – Shores
https://eeem.bandcamp.com/album/shores
Eeem [eim] – Skylines
https://eeem.bandcamp.com/album/skylines-2
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

A triptych of pretty synth compositions that comes probably as close to what I’d call “traditional ambient” as I’m likely to enjoy. There are also plenty of kosmische inflections to be heard in the drift, especially little hints of Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and Ashra. I could see these having really wide appeal, they’re done very well.




Ela and PomPom – My New Music
https://thepompom.bandcamp.com/album/my-new-music
Jennifer and PomPom – Circles
https://thepompom.bandcamp.com/album/circles
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

These two releases feature compositions and performances by people who live with cerebral palsy. Ela’s compositions have lo-fi-guitar + percussion + piano backings to her soaring, pretty vocals with mysterious lyrics. Sometimes her voice is draped in spacious reverb or spooky delay.
Jennifer’s works are a litte more spare, and feature her performances on (mostly) keyboard with the percussive pluckings of the PomPom group murkily cycling in accompaniment. This is utterly unique, lo-fi psycedelia that is moving and beautiful. Some of the absolute top music I’ve heard this year. I could see these recordings becoming very influential. Listening to this music makes me happy to be alive.




Eucci – In Marianne District
http://euc.cx/rive/073/index.html
Eucci – On Verdant Shores
https://sunhill.bandcamp.com/album/on-verdant-shores
Eucci – Land’s End
https://sunhill.bandcamp.com/album/lands-end
Eucci – Mimeotin
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog/2359640/ctrlvlv061__eucci__mimeotin/
CC BY SA / CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released except ‘Mimeotin’ which is out on Control Valve

Eucci had a very productive year, here’s a survey of what I heard. ‘In Marianne District’ is a beautiful collage work of drones and field recordings and interesting sounds cut with sudden transitions and captivating juxtapositions. The style reminds me of some of my favorite work by the Hafler Trio, such as ‘Kill the King’ or ‘the Sea Org’.
‘On Verdant Shores’ is a spasmodic take on pretty IDM music, rough and unsettled, wriggling its ways through not entirely predictable tone lines.
‘Land’s End’ continues the trajectory laid on on the previous release, and refines it a bit. Drums are slightly more upfront here, maybe making it a bit more obvious that this is electronic dance music, perhaps? I mean, I’d love to see someone dance to it. Autechre is the obvious touchstone here, though I feel like a lazy reviewer by pointing that out, (but hell, not like I’m getting paid to do this!)
‘Mimeotin’ is where things get significantly thornier. This is noise music, but labelling it that way is probably misleading, and definitely feels nearly wrong when comparing to some of this artist’s blistering work under the artist name AODL. No, ‘Mimeotin’ takes a really dynamic approach, exploring the softly twitching rhythms and weird, labyrinthine tone lines heard on the two previous releases, but augmented with more abrasive sounds and squirts of complex noise events… nothing that outright pummels, but enough to certainly not pass by unnoticed.




Gregg Skloff – All Way Relay
https://greggskloff.bandcamp.com/track/all-way-relay
Gregg Skloff – Go Dead Aces
https://greggskloff.bandcamp.com/album/go-dead-aces
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

Skloff, whose main axe is bass (electric, double bass and cello) employs sitar for the two tracks of ‘All Way Relay’. The droning qualities of the instrument pairs well with his sensibilities as a composer, but he does use the melodic side as well. He neatly sidesteps any tacky attempts at ethnic pastiche, thankfully. The first track is couched in mammoth reverb, and the second runs the sound through a fuzz amp to get some feedback-harmonics.
It sounds like ‘Go Dead Aces’ is primarily a synth-based work, with long bassy drones that slowly ebb and wane, throbbing away while the upper harmonics swirl around. Very pretty stuff.




Gurdonark – Reflections on Self
https://gurdonark.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-on-self
CC BY SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

There’s not a whole lot I could say about this album that I haven’t already said about Gurdonark albums that have come before. There is a certain inevitability that comes anytime he releases new work, you know it’s going to sound just like new work by Gurdonark. The happy thing is, I really like that sound, and so the stability of his style is something I find comforting in an odd way. His music is not quite like music by anyone else. His loping compositions for keyboard synth (using sounds that he’s sampled in himself) are simultaneously bouncy and ponderous. His albums are simple, musical, calming and ever-so-slightly oddball. Some of the pieces on this album, especially those toward the end, have a slightly darker mood, and some hints of avant-garde ideas. These are paired with such titles as “Regret” and “Conceit.” It seems this course of musical introspection does not overlook the parts of himself that may be harder to look at.




He Can Jog – Characteristics Associated With Unpredictability
http://music.hecanjog.com/album/characteristics-associated-with-unpredictability
He Can Jog – Nightsound
http://music.hecanjog.com/album/nightsound
CC BY (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

A couple of very different releases from this artist, presumably making works using his own programming language Pippi. ‘Characteristics Associated With Unpredictability’ starts off with a kind of galactic random-number funk which swiftly slips into continually evolving scenarios of what sounds like a bunch of smiling DMT baubles yammering and chittering vigorously, while hopefully not overcooking your inner ear with radiation too much. Yeah, yeah, ok. I suck at describing music, especially when it sounds like a fusion reactor come to life.
‘Nightsounds’ is ambient music after the Eno model; tone plates shifting over and under one another, cloud-like with some tinkly nooding happening too. These two releases are pretty radically different in mood, but are pretty interesting to listen to back-to-back.




Janne Nummela – Level Crossing
https://archive.org/details/eg0_159
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Eg0cide Netlabel

A number of compositions, realized on computer, in various Modernist, avant-garde styles. A little more constricted and formal than what I tend to like these days, but it’s really very enjoyable.




Jonáš Gruska – Site Specific Resonances V
https://jonasgruska.bandcamp.com/album/site-specific-resonances-v
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

A sixteen minute long piece that begins with the sound of air ducts (I presume it’s the same system pictured on the cover.) A very loud set of ductwork that rattles and clacks together percussively fades out as some ambiguously sourced droning which sounds vaguely organ-like fades in. This builds, and later is joined by some really nice vibrating material sounds that resemble a low-pitched brass instrument like a tuba or trombone. I believe that materials from the space are activated by some vibrating mechanism by the performer(s?) to produce these sounds. The room’s reverb gives the buzzing and moaning drones a beautiful situatedness. The drone section culminates with a percussive climax.




Chinese Hackers – (wiretrap)
https://bedlamtapes.bandcamp.com/album/–2
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Bedlam Tapes

Another solid release from Bedlam Tapes. This music really does come off in some ways as a very appreciative hommage to 1980s Industrial Music, with a very lo-fi approach using drum machines, over-saturated synths, people banging on 55 gallon drums in a warehouse, and weird, charged vocal samples clicking in and out of the mix. It could sit alongside early stuff from Controlled Bleeding or SPK nicely. Thing is, this album also integrates some vaporwave influences too, filtered through the same overleaded-four-track aesthetic. This leaves me drawing some (perhaps dubious) comparisons between industrial & vaporwave, both of which seemed to start off as an anti-establishment, protest music, and both of which rapidly ended up embracing the establishment and polishing themselves up to gain wider audiences. In the process each became something else entirely.




Linden Pomeroy – Ikiryo
https://pilot11.bandcamp.com/album/linden-pomeroy-ikiryo
CC BY SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Pilot Eleven Netlabel

It’s that classic combination of guitar through a system of delays and reverbs. I guess I’m just a sucker for this kind of shit. It was one of the first ways I started doing ambient / experimental / whatever music, and it still never gets old.




Lingua Lustra – Slow Time
https://archive.org/details/Lingua_Lustra_-_Slow_Time
CC BY (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Breathe Compilations

Slowly looping, filtered and strained musical phrases swaddled in disorienting effects. A very romantic melancholy pervades this album. Very beautiful stuff. “Phantasmagoric” seems like a good word I should use somewhere in this review, but I don’t know what kind of sentence to use it in, so you can make one up yourself if you like.




Linus Lemont – Marginalia
https://linuslemont.bandcamp.com/album/marginalia
CC BY NC (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self-released

Linus’ first album released with his new name (earlier releases came out under the name Jess Lemont, you may have seen a few recommendations from me for his earlier stuff). Linus is an immensely talented composer with deep jazz chops and some incredible moves on the drumkit, as well as seemingly every single instrument ever made. They have a gift for inventing new ways to splatter those sounds in weird new shapes. This is avant-garde as fuck… If you’re in the market for some extremely well done “difficult” music that never gets boring or predictable, do not miss this one.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (Part One)

Sunday, 12 December 2016

Hi, 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.
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 ONE of the big list, I will post links just below this line of other parts as I publish them.

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.

OK, let’s get into it:





Achnn – Fiare Vecchi
https://archive.org/details/Achnn-Fiarevechi
CC BY NC ND (No derivs)
Achnn Records Netlabel

Richly varied collection of abstract electronic music and acoustic sound sources. A constantly shifting sound environment that pays a lot of attention to space and structure. A lot happens, but well paced and spacious.





Biographical Error – ► Press Play
https://biographicalerror.bandcamp.com/album/press-play
CC BY SA (Derivs allowed)
Self-released

Tiny bite-sized chunks of saccharine 1950s pop-orchestral stuff slowed down and constrasted against longer pieces of highly filtered, somnambulent, dental suction noises. Sometimes things are slowed down to a near stop. The album has a really nice flow to it. Like it





Bonus Fruit – Dissatisfied
https://bedlamtapes.bandcamp.com/album/dissatisfied
Copyright (No derivs)
Bedlam Tapes

Dense collage sampletronica, with a large variety of moods and sound environments, from melancholy croon-scapes to completely bonkers beat-explosions where I find myself frantically trying to find my bearing while still nodding my head to the chaos beats.





Cinchel – Recesses of (Nature (part II))
https://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/recesses-of-nature-part-ii

Cinchel – Silence of the oncoming train
https://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/silence-of-the-oncoming-train

Cinchel – Sometimes Never is Soon Enough
https://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/sometimes-never-is-soon-enough
All CC-BY-NC-SA (Derivs allowed)
Self-released

Pretty much anything Cinchel does is likely to get a mention from me at this point, because I think his work is fantastic. ‘Recesses of Nature’ starts off with a high pitched chiming sound that nebulously builds into a larger structure of pings & sustained tones. It reminds me of some of the classic, older Vidna Obmana ambient works. Later there are a variety of clusters of woody, insectoid clicks and solar-sail tones. This is Summertime riparian drone impressionism.
‘Silence of the oncoming train’ is a much darker affair: subdued, distantly menacing tones stalk the night forest. By pairing evocative titles with his drones, it seems like he’s going for a kind of minimalist drone-music storytelling in slow motion.
‘Sometimes Never is Soon Enough’ feels like a mediated space between the bright shininess of ‘Recesses’ and the darkness of ‘Silence’. The guitar drones here are soft, orchestral and sad.





Cloud City Cars – Magic Guard
https://lifelikefamily.bandcamp.com/album/magic-guard
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed)
Lifelike Family

Lovely, simple-tone synth constructions with a jaunty off-rhythms and a light, friendly (do I want to say “kid-friendly”?) feel, but from that starting point, they reliably mutate into weird, less predictable forms.





Coppice – Whiting Belt
http://www.notype.com/drones/cat.e/pan_097/
License not listed (No derivs)
No Type / Panospria

Experimental music from Coppice is always worth paying attention to. In this case the music was made with “custom handheld samplers, multi-material filter, transmitters, pump organ, tape processes, and plastic bladder with valve.” The first track is near silence, with the occasional flicker of quick, granulated, maybe-speech sounds. The second track is maximal in comparison, with warbling tape drones, rhythmic tapping and wavering hiss filtered through undersized microphones. That base layer is given to occasional eruptions of lo-fidelity noise crunches. The third piece retreats to small, quiet, highly distressed clicking and hissing sounds.





Daniel Barbiero / Ken Moore – Frequency Drift
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr177-daniel-barbiero-ken-moore-frequency-drift/
CC BY NC ND
Pan y Rosas Discos

Works for double bass and tam tams (a gong that appears to be about 20-25 inches in the cover photo). The long, deep resonances seem expressive without being overt about what exactly is being expressed.





Dante Mars Ajeto ! – Celebrating Digital Artifacts
https://bedlamtapes.bandcamp.com/album/celebrating-digital-artifacts
Copyright (No derivs)
Bedlam Tapes

This has honestly been one of my favorite album releases across genres all year. Technicolor glitch-pop electronica formed from shards of pop-music samples. Huge, grooving, epic earworm-food. I reckon Dante Mars Ajeto ! has earned his exclamation point.





Dave Seidel – Hexany Permutations
https://mysterybear.bandcamp.com/album/hexany-permutations
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed)
Self-released

A long, stately procession of microtonal note clusters. Enter the bliss zone.





David Vélez – Fortore
https://plustimbre.bandcamp.com/album/fortore
CC BY NC ND (No derivs)
Plus Timbre

A captivating field recording-based release featuring a night chorus of crickets and bugs, a burbling stream and other activity. Electric and weird, full of motion and stillness.





Deiphix – Millenia
https://npcdeiphix.bandcamp.com/album/millenia

Deiphix – Ultra Suite
https://npcdeiphix.bandcamp.com/album/ultra-suite
Both Copyright (No derivs)
Self-Released

Blossoming synth sequences, circulating, synthetic, choral laments and ultra-chilled minimal-tek-house. Deiphix constistently creates unique atmospheres of smooth technoid space. Ultra-Suite is the more beat-oriented of the two releases, and overall, it’s my favorite thing I’ve heard from this composer. Millenia is a suite of thematically connected synth compositions.





Dirch Blewn – Capacity and Resistance
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/capacity-and-resistance
CC BY NC ND (No derivs)
Linear Obsessional

One long piece that I presume (given the cover art and title) was done on a modular synth system. Several long sections divide up the 55 minutes, all featuring a variety of slowly swelling drones, clicks, buzzes and pops. Very calm electronic proto-ambient.





Duelling Ants – Reverse Seaworld
https://duellingants.bandcamp.com/album/reverse-seaworld-2
Copyright (No derivs)
Self-released

I was really into their 2015 release ‘Fauna.’ This one doesn’t quite hit the heights that that release did for me, but this pretty, low-key, laid-back instrumental music is still very nice. “Nice” is definitely the mood – and I can’t complain about that at all. Not many things about this year have been nice.


Ambient Album Recommendations

Sunday, 10 October 2016

This blog post is a response to Pitchfork’s recent article presenting a list of ranked “Best Ambient Albums of All Time”. Upon its publication, a few people in my social circle were complaining about the canonization of certain albums as the top of the crop, the absence of other albums, and how that, in a sense, the numbered ranking implicitly (though probably not intentionally) delegitimizes individual variances of taste – (on the other hand, the numerous response articles published afterward are a strong indicator otherwise.) There’s also the thought that when a small set of works is enshrined into the canon of necessary works by acclimation, it calcifies the style. Perhaps no one needs look further into the genre, the fifty best gives you all you need.

At the same time some people were tangentially discussing how musical publications such as Pitchfork give no time to netlabels doing current work in the ambient genre (or in any field of musical exploration.) While there are exceptions, I think this perception is mostly correct. It seems that the non-objecthood inherent in netlabel and free-download self-releases prevent them from being seriously considered by institutionally object-oriented publications like Pitchfork. The result is that artists who are not well known, but who release their musical work physically and/or with payment required are placed on a higher tier than those who share non-object musical releases.

As for me, I have a great admiration for artists who have decided to release their work to provide for the greatest accessibility (despite your ability to pay, you may own the work,) and the least materialistic approach (one less object to hold, and later discard.) It feels to me like an important symbolic rejection of the dominant business-oriented nature of the music world, a notable anti-capitalist gesture.

Fourteen people (including myself) have decided to take a proactive approach to the problems outlined above. Each has recommended a few albums within the broad spectrum of what is called “ambient music.” They’ve provided a sentence or so of descriptive text, nothing too fancy, just enough to get a sense of the music and the reason the author enjoys the music. These aren’t presented as the “best” that the world of free music has to offer in the genre of ambient music. They are simply some albums the authors really enjoy and wanted other people to get a chance to hear. There is no album ranking to be found here.

Each of the releases described below are free, or pay-what-you-want to download. You are welcome to respond in the comments section with further recommendations, or with reactions to any of the albums listed here! Huge thanks to the participants who spent the time to recommend music. I hope these recommendations find a receptive audience. The authors of these recommendations are themselves engaged in some interesting projects, including making music and writing about music. Please take the time to follow links to find out about their work as well!

Here goes:







    The following recommendations by Marc Weidenbaum – website: disquiet.com




Stephen Vitiello revisited his Molly Berg collaborations. The original featured Berg on clarinet and vocalizations — that is, on vocal sounds, rather than lyrics — with Vitiello on guitar and an array of electronic processing. Here the source audio is whittled to a short five minutes of percussive, jittery vowels, bouncing like balls in a pixelated pachinko machine. At times it’s hard to tell where her sounds end and the featured bell-like tones begin.



The syrupy, slurpy, melty place that Danny Clay and Greg Gorlen map in intimate, elegiac detail on “marigolds i” makes for an enticing sonic cul-de-sac, a turnaround in which to get pleasingly disoriented, happily stuck. Time, genre, and technology loop back on themselves and on each other.



The dense, fluid, constantly shifting tone of the Bell Mechanical’s “Dystorphia” is sort of a drone primer. It has the expected white noise frission of something that is defined as a drone, yet were you to drop the (proverbial) needle at any random points the wide variety of sounds comprising the track would become immediately evident. It feels singular, but on repeat listens reveals multiple layers of activity: clouds and pulses and momentary signals. And it presents itself as static, and yet it has, in fact, an internal combustion that is quite active, even rapid. The track highlights numerous ways in which seeming stasis is anything but still.








    The following recommendations by Emmanuel – website: eeem.net



Deep​/​Float by Saåad


Although there are several ways to create music, I have a lot of respect for Saåad’s approach and methods used to craft the Deep/Float album.
I enjoy listening to this album with open headphones when it is windy and dawn, standing and staring at the sea. The drones blend with surrounding sounds, and this never gets old.


PROMINENCES by Tekla Mrozowicka | Marcin Cichy


I like what happens with duos and contrasts. Often, it is not entirely unexpected, and it is not the result of an overachievement; a natural alchemy just develops. PROMINENCES is a beautiful example of that phenomenon.








    The following recommendations by Gregg Skloff – website: GreggSkloff.com




As stipulated, I offer here no hierarchy of rank or “greatness” either relative or absolute. It’s simply a few freely available albums, all tagged serviceably as “ambient,” all of which I’ve gladly listened to – and/or furnished my surroundings with – dozens of times. (Full disclosure: yes, they’re all by friends of mine. I have a collaborative album with Alchymie to be issued later this year. The Alchymie album listed here, however, dates from before we met & does not involve me at all.)
Gregg Skloff
Astoria, Oregon
September 2016


Alchymie – To Begin

Minimal abstractions & improvisations alternate with subtle beats & breezy electric piano vamps. The tour of this spacecraft takes us through the control room, the observation deck, and the lounge.


The OO-Ray – Empty Orchestra

Towering landmarks of myriad form as seen through an avowedly shoegaze-inspired electric haze. “A work of stunning, heartrending beauty,” to quote myself.


Shane, Apparently – From Sleeplessness

Slow-moving banks of fog cover the midnight landscape, gradually trailing into darkness or dissipating into early morning light.











Kakurenbo – Matsuyoi No Tsuki

original: https://kakurenbo.bandcamp.com/album/matsuyoi-no-tsuki

Can’t remember how I came across this artist, but I instantly loved the beautiful melodies and soft glitchy textures. Not recommended for those who don’t like pretty music. Relaxing, without being cloying or sappy. Childlike, not childish.


You’re Terribly Late – Anywhere But Here

original: https://theghostof313.bandcamp.com/album/anywhere-but-here [no longer free]

This is a little darker than I usually like my ambient, but I enjoy the mood and attention to detail. Very visual music. “Make me A Paper Plane Again” is a track I go back to over and over.


Crisopa – Medicamentosa

original: http://www.addsensor.com/addsensor_html.htm

Some elements of electronica here, but I would mostly put it in the ambient category. Love everything about this, in particular “Algo Cián”, one of my favourite netlabel discoveries of the last few years.








    The following recommendations by Zachary Lauterbach – Twitter: @zclauterbach




Tiny Territories by SEALADDER


Power Moves Label (now known as Power Moves Library) out of Canada releases experimental music on cassette in micro editions. This particular release is much more “ambient” than their releases usually tend to be. That said, it is still of the same quality and uniqueness I have come to expect from Power Moves. This entire album is made using keyboards only. Some tracks are a little noisier. Some are more drone. Overall, I feel like this album captures a sound that, in my mind, seems ambient.


Light in the Valley by Andrew Weathers


Andrew Weathers is a prolific musician based out of Oakland, CA and is quite a mastering whiz too from what I hear. If you asked him what kind of music he makes he would probably describe it as “Real Life Rock & Roll.” This particular release, however, is more sparse and stripped down than most of his other albums. Although there might not be anything groundbreaking about this album, it’s calm and mellow beauty get to the heart of what I think about when I think of the qualities of ambient music.


Good Sun Setting by Dias Queue


Davis Salsbury makes music under two different monikers, Grand Banks (typically a duo with Tyler Magill) and Dais Queue. As Dais Queue, Salsbury explores more ambient drone territory. This particular release is among the most ambient of them. It starts off as mostly straight guitar, but as it builds its ambient qualities become more apparent.

My name is Zach Lauterbach. I don’t do anything related to music for a paycheck. It is merely a passion/hobby of mine to listen and play music. My twitter handle is @zclauterbach and there I mostly post about music and talk to others about music. I found out about this submission through Gregg Skloff’s twitter feed.







    The following recommendations by Joseph Vajda – Twitter: @vajdaij



Benge – Minimalist Work (Sustained Tone Branch)


Benge produces really pure synthesized sounds, and it’s very relaxing to listen to. His ’20 Systems’ was a top choice a few years ago, but his back catalogue is worth exploration.


Off Land – Commute


Off Land is an artist in the Boston area, working with field recordings and drones. There’s a lot of good stuff, but I liked the concept of this piece, having done a similar Boston commute before.


Various Artists – Wandering Compilation


Silent Season comes from a dub techno perspective, but they’ve also released stuff by Michael Mantra, for example. This release is a good intro to their sound.








Lucette Bourdin – Golden Sun (Earth Mantra netlabel), 2009

http://relaxedmachinery.com/earthmantra/release-detail.php?id=83

Lucette Bourdin was a French painter and ambient musician and a favourite of mine. I was blindsided in 2011 by coming across the announcement that she had passed on in February of that year. It turns out, unbeknownst to me and no doubt many others who enjoyed her music, that she took up the making of ambient music as a result of her diagnosis with breast cancer. As her site (still up) says: “Her music was especially the product of her transformation through cancer. When diagnosed she said of her desire to create music, ‘if not now, when?’.” Essentially, then, the making of this incredible music was therapy for her, but also, I speculate, born of her desire to bring as much beauty into the world as she could before the end, should that end come. All of her releases are great, but Golden Sun to me is Bourdin’s masterwork, a two-CD set (if you burned ’em) of pieces of shimmering beauty redolent of the happiest sunny day that you can remember in your life, those golden-hued memories of an idealized youth. It’s one of the best ambient music recordings ever made, from start to finish.


VACVVM – Peaceful Atom (Test Tube netlabel), 2011
http://testtube.monocromatica.com/releases/tube228.htm

Peaceful Atom is an astonishing work by an Italian musician and laptop composer named Guglielmo Cherchi, but there’s nothing Italian-sounding or feeling about this recording. As the label page says, “Peaceful Atom was intended to be a concept work about the Chernobyl disaster, and as a result of this some tracks are ideally connected to that topic.” The music on Peaceful Atom is a juxtaposition of an ever-present underlying series of clicks, pops and scraping sounds, which could easily (and was probably intended to) represent the background radiation of a poisoned landscape, with really eerie, spectral, keyboard- and guitar-generated soundscapes. What sets this album apart is its sense of purpose and its unity. This is an entire listening experience that takes you into another world, part beautiful Caucasus landscape/Soviet future dreamworld and part netherworld of sickness and radiation. The effect is quite stunning.


ALTUS – The Sidereal Cycle (“self-released” [first released on the defunct Free Floating netlabel], 2012-13)
http://altusmusic.ca/

Canadian Altus (Mike Carss) is a free-music Creative Commons hero who releases every year at least one great ambient album in various styles. What a generous guy! The Sidereal Cycle is a collection of long-form pieces based on “the temporal cycle that it takes an object to make a full orbit, relative to the stars.” With this kind of spacy topic, you can expect that the music would be drifty and floaty, and Altus doesn’t disappoint. In fact, he shows a facility for that style that he hadn’t quite demonstrated yet in his stellar career. Little-known fact, but these hour-long pieces that don’t seem to do much take a lot more doing than you might think, and not many have really mastered the art. Altus now has. Each of the four long-form pieces has a mood its own, from mournful to majestic. This massive work is definitely classic “space music” and will fit in nicely with your Steve Roach, Jonn Serrie, Micheal Stearns, Thom Brennan, etc., collection.









36 – Shadow Play (2013)


The classic 36 album would be Lithea, but I honestly enjoy listening to Shadow Play the most from their catalog. It’s bleak and ominous in the right ways and would be the ambient anthem of music for me. Also changed my perceptions of ambient as something more monstrous and menacing, ’cause the production is incredibly heavy for a 36 album.


Lost Trail & Cistern – Ten Years of Lost Memory (2013)


I like when ambient, drone, and acoustic folk, so listening to Lost Trail & Cistern brought those worlds together into this very uplifting release with some unforgettable moments tucked between its bed sheets. Definitely a must listen.


Oscob/Digital Sex – OVERGROWTH (2015)


Possibly the best ambient release of 2015 and of our current generation for me, less so for the controversy and personalities behind it (albeit could be seen as the bigger interest of this release), but I think perfects the meaning of a concept album most ambient releases wished they could boast about.









[camn001] Dr (Synchronisation-Mit-Einem-Stuck-Zitrone)




[thump313] Thuuooom (Kaiut)


Review (for two):

I like ambient music that has “different layers” of listening. These two releases are a good example of this.
You can work while listening, using it as background music.
But at the same time, you can sit on a sofa with headphones, and enjoy a rich sound. It’s a game between apparent simplicity and real complexity.








The following recommendations by Graeme Gill – website: Pilot Eleven Netlabel


Mathieu Lamontagne & Emmanuel Toledo – Belle Chemise (self-released)


Beautiful collaboration between Mathieu Lamontagne (aka Arbee based in
Canada) and Emmanuel Toledo (aka Eeem based in Finland). The project
arrived after exchanges of ideas first between Canada and Finland, then Canada and China where Emmanuel moved for a year, and finally Canada and Finland again. Each repeated listen reveals new sounds and melodies – a rich and immersive experience.


Bing Satellites – Rain (BFW Recordings)

(front cover –
http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/BingSatellites/Rain/front.jpg )

Manchester UK is Bing Satellites home town and I’ve heard that a lot of people outside the city think it rains there a lot. He says of this
release “it’s not a chillout album, it’s an album of urban noise, slowly churning and changing. An attempt to share the experience of living near the centre of a busy city.”


DR – Umbrella (self-released)


I love the absolute stillness of Dominic Razlaff’s work. I could have
picked almost any of his releases (free or NYP anyway) but this is his
most recent.









Dave Seidel & Alan Morse Davies – Porch, Rain, Thunder


i’m not even 100% what this is. is it just a field recording? the cover shows a circle of fifths so i presume there is something added to this field recording. either way i find new sounds and textures in it every time i listen. incredibly engaging.


Dave Seidel – Prism, Mirror, Lens


leaning more toward the drone side of ambient these 2 tracks are rich and comforting.


le berger and the ooray (as Le B’OO-Ray) – V


getting 2 birds with one stone. both le berger and the ooray make wonderful on their own and here they combine their powers for something truly spectacular. ghosts and decay and hope.









Norah Lorway – Drone Bølge (Xylem Records)


The short info says that Norah Lorway worked with field recordings from several coastal cities as source material for this and I do have a soft spot for music that is about the sea. Eventually she put together some very cinematic, poetic pieces of sound. Most Ambient drone releases tend to be pretty long but this one is different. It only lasts for about 15 minutes and I like that, always makes me want to relisten once it is over.


Cinchel – Alone in a Room Full of People (self-released)


I love live records from the Ambient/noise field and this is one I found particularly pleasant. It’s sort of loud but calm and there’s always lots of subtle stuff happening somewhere in the background. This is a beautiful album – no big concept as far as I can tell, just dense layers of sound.


Daniel Feuerriegel – The Sea was Screaming (Field Noise Records)


According to the artist himself, Daniel Feuerriegel’s music here is all about creating unusual modes of perception and personally I think it is very successful at that. This record was initially released by the Field Noise imprint from Japan, which I think is sadly not active anymore by this point – it was certainly one of my favorite netlabels, distributing free high-quality Ambient music that was both soothing and truly experimental.







    The following recommendations by Isaac Halvorson – website: hisaac.net




I realize I’m a day late for this, and understand that it may not be used because of that. I just figured I’d try to get this submission in if I could, because the artist I’ve chosen deserves much more recognition than he’s got.

My submission is “winter” by Morgan Greenwood, from Calgary, Canada. Here are some links:



I don’t know much about Morgan. A friend of mine stumbled across the album years ago, and struck up a brief conversation with him. Apparently the entire album was created using Propellerhead’s Reason, and the vocal samples in it are of a conversation Morgan had with his step-mother.

Morgan was a law student at the time this was released, and wanted to make more music, but needed to focus on his studies. We never heard from him after that brief email conversation, but he’s been posting stuff to his SoundCloud again recently, so he must be making music again.

This album is called “winter”, something Morgan being from Canada is no doubt familiar with. I grew up in rural North Dakota so am also familiar, I think it captures that winter feeling very well. It’s dark, bleak, clean, and mysterious, yet the textures and melodies are beautiful because of it. The vocal samples here at some mystery and depth. A really brilliant and beautiful piece of music that I wish more people knew about. Perhaps if he got some more recognition, he would start making music again. One can only hope.









I love giving recommendations, and I love this music, so I’m (unfairly) going to use my privilege as author of this blog post to recommend more than just two or three releases. Complaints may be filed in the comment section below.


Cinchel – Circle


I might’ve picked any number of his releases, I really am very fond of this guy’s music. This one is one of the lengthiest releases in his catalogue. It was intended to be a sound installation involving multiple tracks playing at once along with audience participation. It also works as a lovely collection of drones.


August Stars – Decline of the Industrial North


I frequently wonder why Sebastien’s music is not more well known, his work is consistently beautiful. Again, the choice of this album over others in his catalogue was arbitrary, I love a lot of his work equally. If I remember right, this was the first album I heard from August Stars. I was enamored of his previous project Still Crescent, and had to do some google searching before I found out that the same composer was responsible for this project. Very ethereal, looping drones.


Percival Pembroke – A Course in the Theory of Drones


I only discovered this album this year, thanks to a recommendation from my internet comrade, Max. This is a collection of distressed lo-fi sound loops that I can’t tell if they’re manipulated samples, or if the artist performed the sounds… and it really doesn’t matter, does it?


Hannah M.G. Shapero (Altocumulus) – My Name Is Marietta Cashman


From the dearly departed experimental music netlabel Just Not Normal this release, credited variously as by Hannah M.G. Shapero or Altocumulus is a collection of recordings from 1967 to 1970 on the Buchla 100 Modular system at Brandeis University by a teenaged girl who later grew up and continued to make ambient music. The back story & cover art to this are priceless, and the music is pretty ace. Noodly, to be sure, but there’s nothing at all wrong with that.


David Nemeth – Home Drones


As ambient music was originally conceived as “ignorable” music, this release is perhaps the most apt entry for me. It consists of site recordings of environmental sounds collected in the artist’s home, sounds which are normally ignored. When attention to the sounds is paid, the music is revealed. That turns the concept on its head a bit, rather than music to be ignored, it’s normally ignored sounds given attention and respected as musical.


69 Notable Netlabel releases of 2015

Monday, 12 December 2015

As has become an annual tradition, here is a big list of notable netlabel releases from the past year. Sixty-nine different releases listed this time!
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.

As usual, my recommendations are NOT ranked. This list is alphabetized by album name. Ranking music is for chumps. This is just a bunch of stuff I heard and liked that came out in 2015 that I thought you might like too. So download some of it and listen!

Previous year’s lists:
2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

Before we get into the recommendations, I’m going to make a quick mention of my own 2015 releases, I hope you will check them out if you haven’t yet:



C. Reider – Not Subliminal
DOWNLOAD HERE

This came out in the very last days of 2014, so I’m counting it as a 2015 release, and who are you to try and stop me? This is a collection of tape experimentations, very noisy and gritty.



C. Reider – Certainty Reducing Signals
DOWNLOAD HERE

This is mostly a collection of remixes for friends and contributions to the Disquiet Junto, but I thought it cohered really well as an album of my abstract composition work.



C. Reider – Tape Loops
DOWNLOAD HERE

A collage of my experiments with tape loops, with a lengthy .pdf file describing some of my methods.






I didn’t feel like making a new mix of these 2015 releases. Earlier this year, to celebrate Netlabel Day, I made 2 mixes that include many of the releases I list here. Give these a listen. while perusing this list, if you want.

Netlabel Mix, 50 from 2015 (part 1) by C. Reider on Mixcloud

Netlabel Mix, 50 from 2015 (part 2) by C. Reider on Mixcloud






FINALLY…
Now we can move on to:

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69 Notable Netlabel releases of 2015





smellycaт – 2015
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Tiny, unassuming sound vignettes that I guess I should label vaporwave, according to the tags.





Gregg Skloff – 3087
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Juice Machine – 3×1=3
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Perennial, reliable electronic noise from this husband and wife duo. There’s a lot of personality that comes through in this music, I think.





Martin Rach – 4 BACH/2 MF
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





August Stars – A Grey and Troubled Sea
(self released, CC NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

I’ve been a huge fan of Sebastien’s music for quite a lot of years, even back when they were recording as Still Crescent. August Stars is a highly underrated ambient project, that much is certain.





Cinchel – Alone In A Room Full of People
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

One should note the sheer number of Cinchel releases that are on this list, and think, wow, this guy must put out a lot of good stuff… ’cause then you’d be both observant and correct. I’m happy he had a good year and put out a lot of his patented Cinchel-tronic, blissful guitar-drone this year, hope he keeps on in years to come.





Phirnis / Katarrhaktes – Apnoea
(Fwonk*, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Rosalind Hall / Ada Rave – a trail, a texture
(Pan y Rosas Discos, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt – The Beauty of Blasphemy
(suRRism-Phonoethics, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Jimmy Kipple Sound – BRINDLE SUNBURST BUFF
(self released, CC BY Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Miquel Parera – by Zero
(Modisti, CC BY SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

I’ve been a big fan of Miquel Parera’s pulsing / grating electronic textures for years, this is a particularly good and varied album.





Rick Reid – Calculated Risk
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

A Colorado musician I met at the last Denver Noise Fest. This guy makes some cool sounds using theremins, bowed saws and some of those instruments that use light detection. Lots of glissandi, as you might imagine.





Cinchel – Childhood (part 1)
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Paco Rossique – Collages and Dispersions
(Linear Obsessional, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Prepared piano, synth & field recordings. Sort of a suspended, haunted feel to it.





Gurdonark – Constellation Blackbird
(We Are All Ghosts, CC BY SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

A new album from my friend Gurdonark (a.k.a. Robert Nunnally) is always cause for celebration. His simple melodies and well chosen synth sounds sound very relaxing and alluring to these ears.





Christian Doil – Das Sommergewitter
(Buddhist on Fire, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Arbee – désencombrement
(Bleepsequence, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Naoyuki Sasanami – Disquiet 2014
(self released, CC BY SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

I think I may have listened to this release more often than any of the others on this list. Naoyuki contributes to the Disquiet Junto very frequently (if not for every single week’s project.) I find his contributions always inventive and pleasant.





Lyn Goeringer – dolly (for m.a.)
(Pan y Rosas, license not listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Some very nice modular synth drones with frequency beating, and an incredibly lovely piece using street lights as the sound source.





Erich Schall – Dubcutan
(Basic Sounds, CC BY ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

You will see a lot of Basic Sounds releases on this list (notice the heart-shaped cover art.) They consistently have put out some incredibly well done dub / minimal techno & drone releases in their time, and I’m very sad to see them close up shop as they did just this month. Even though they use non-derivative licenses, I can still give them the nod as my fave netlabel of the year.





Cloud City Cars – Electronic Musical Instrument
(Lifelike Family, various licenses allowing derivs Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

An album of improvs with Casio keyboards. I can’t recommend this more, it’s really lovely.





The OO-Ray – Empty Orchestra
( Lifelike Family, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Aspect. – examples.
(Basic Sounds, CC BY ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Duelling Ants – Fauna
(Mars Melons, no license listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

This is sorta collage music that’s not afraid to be both weird and musical and pretty all at the same time.





2047 – For I am Infinity!
(Velvet Bazaar, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Two longform ambient pieces out of which emerge laid back beats. Sort of an updated FSOL sound to it, maybe.





Liquid Sphere – Hammer of Wisdom
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

I feel like this really slipped under the radar of the experimental music netlabel community. Some really dense, thoughtful, noisy constructions here. I might label this quietnoise, as nothing here is outright harsh noise, just engaging abstract sound work.





Splicey and Tracky – Horses, Horses … Horses!
( HAZE, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Skittering and simultaneously loping, riffing and simultaneously free-jazzing group work featuring the brilliant Jess Lemont. This coheres really well, and is very groovy, even when they’re at their most free-improv-y.





CMD – Ice Daggers
(Basic Sounds, CC BY ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Chefkirk and Carl Kruger – Interference Studies 2
(Poverty Electronics, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Boocanan – IRON LUNG
( Pizzabox Society, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

I feel like pointing out that “this is vaporwave” doesn’t really illuminate what it sounds like at all, it just identifies them as part of the vaporwave community. There are some chill as fuck beats here and lots of melancholy soundscapes. It’s a very laid back scene in Boocanan-land, I’d venture to say. I just wish the album title didn’t get that horrible Big Pig song from the 80s stuck in my head every time.





Marlo Eggplant – Jutted
( Hairdryer Excommunication, CC BY Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Marlo is a hero, the foremost proponent of women in the noise scene, through her Ladyz in Noiz compilations and events, and just general all-around boosting. I’ve had the privilege to have met her & listened to her perform a few times, and she’s always stood out as someone doing her own thing and doing it like no one else can. I love how many different kinds of music she can get out of her autoharp “Harpy”, a contact mic, a looper and a metal cup.





Emmanuel Toledo & Lauri Hallikainen – Leaves Stories (Ice)
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Emmanuel Toledo & Lauri Hallikainen – Leaves Stories (Usnea)
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

These two albums I have on the list by Emmanuel Toledo and Lauri Hallikainen are part of a trilogy of which the first part came out in 2014. I’ve recommended these albums to a few of my staunch ambient fan friends and they’ve kinda flipped out about how good they were, and yes, they are quite good.





Caroline Park – Less Than Human
( Pan y Rosas, no license listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Dalot – Levelling
(Pan y Rosas, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

An engaging drone record, apparently made from playing around with a new instrument, getting to know it (the text doesn’t mention what the instrument is, but it’s some kind of synth.) There are many layers of burbling and pulsing and whooping synth tones to liven up the drone party, plenty to keep the ears busy





Andrew Weathers – Light in the Valley
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





smellycaт – light shines inside yr room, nowhere else
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





August Stars – Luminescence
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Iwa – L’wha
( Basic Sounds, CC BY ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





MEGACHURCH – MEGACHURCH
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Christian vaporwave, I mean come on!





The Implicit Order – Mountain Music
(self released, CC BY SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Radere – My Darling / My Divine
( Subterranean Tide, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Cinchel – Not knowing what to say but saying something anyway (existing in a perpetual state of inadequateness)
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Darksleep – Obviate
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Very dark, energetic and dense vaporwave constructions. Some bits make me think that’s what it’d sound like if Skinny Puppy did VW





Eucci – Oceanfront
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Bright, lumpy, disorienting beat-music. Everything circles around itself.





GALAXIANオーブ – Our Apartment
(Nemui Bunny, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Christian Williams – Providence
(self released, CC BY Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Thoughtfully amateurish (or maybe non-professional) improvised piano explorations that ignore convention, giving preference to music as it happens. Sorta like if you set a young kid in front of a piano and then you end up quite liking how they play.





Stephen Emmerson – Radio/Tape
(Control Valve, no license listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE (no direct link)





Zrzrf – RAINBOW|SIMULANT
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

A piercingly bright bit of repetitive minimalist music using a 2-note synth phrase and slowly dialing in variations until the original is bitcrushed scatternoise.





S Hamann – sequence
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





S Hamann – signal
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Phirnis / Katarrhaktes – Sleepers
(Fwonk*, CC BY NC SA)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





2047 – S n o w
(No Problema Tapes, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Cinchel / Dustperiod – Sometimes I hear Voices / Trying to Make Impermanent Things Permanent
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Cinchel teams up with Dustperiod to make noisy drone, much noisier than Cinchel normally does. This is definitely my fave release by Cinchel this year, don’t miss it!





Dave Dorgan – Such is Our Condition
( Subterranean Tide, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Gregg Skloff – Tape Constructions 2005
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





offthesky + Radere – Temporaryspace
(Basic Sounds, CC BY NC ND No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Cinchel – the timing was right for a walk in the woods
(self released, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Jess Lemont – The Tiny Album
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Not so tiny, the frantic clumps of free-weird on this album are actually pretty large. I love peering into the musical brain of this musician, I never know quite what to expect.





Vasectomy Party – The Truth is Illusive
(Control Valve, no license listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE (no direct link)

Brilliantly searing harsh noise. There are many beautiful layers to listen intently to, while letting the worries of the day fall away.





Kecap Tuyul – Tunnel Songs
(Eg0cide, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





David Vélez – Unaware
( Linear Obsessional, CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Very minimal dronework





Contrails in the Blue Summer Sky – Unknown Source of Pain
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Melancholy plunderphonia





Cinchel – Witnessing
(Pan y Rosas, no license listed No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

A particularly experimental piece from Cinchel here, done for an installation. He recorded people who were at the installation and looped the sounds they made to project back into the gallery space. This album is a reconstruction using the sound sources he recorded that night.





The Soft Pink Truth – Why Pay More?
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

Half of Matmos plunders YouTube for sound samples, produces a banger of groovy weird-tronica.





Graham Dunning – Wound
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Stereo Voices – イルカ
(self released, CC BY NC Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE





Bonus Fruit – 銀河TOMAHAWK
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE

This is a really heavy album of vaporwave creep-beats, with all the weird-sauce splattered all over it.





Tech Noir – 精神
(self released, copyright No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
LISTEN / DOWNLOAD HERE


2014 – Recommended Netlabel Releases

Sunday, 12 December 2014

Two lists, as usual. One is the stuff I did in 2014, the second is the stuff I liked that was available in the worldwide netlabel underground during the year.

Netlabeling entails releasing music for free (or name your price), accordingly every single thing here can be downloaded for free (and usually streamed too). The distinguishing factor between the standard model of releasing music and the netlabel model is this open accessibility without the barrier of a price. As such, those self-releasing artists who release their music for free are a vital part of the netlabel world. The “label” part of the term “netlabel” is a misnomer in some respects. In fact, the term is problematic in some other ways that I’ll probably write about in the future. Much of this music is released under various Creative Commons licenses. Some of these CC licenses allow “derivs” (short for “derivatives”). What that means is that anyone can remix or sample the work to make new music, it’s allowed in the license. I like it when people choose to make their music accessible for remixing/sampling, so I’ve denoted whether the release allows or disallows derivs in green or red script.

I dig experimental / drone / noise / improv / abstract musics… and so you’ll find a lot of that here, but there’s also some stuff with melody & beat.

Previous year’s lists:
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

By the way, this is all listed in alphabetical order based on the album titles, not #1, #2… etc.
Not counting my stuff, there’s 71 releases listed! Well over two entire days worth of listening!


So I also made a long DJ mix of many tracks from this list. Download it here (link) or stream with the widget below.


2014 Netlabel Mix by Vuzh on Mixcloud






Self-serving List of my own releases for 2014!





Daniel Barbiero – After 30 x 12 (for C. Reider)
http://opensoundgroup.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/release-daniel-barbiero-after-30-x-12-for-c-reider/
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Composition for double bass and electronics.




C. Reider – Awkward Hugs
http://www.bumpfoot.net/foot229.html
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Minimal techno, sorta – okay not really.




C. Reider – Detritus 1&2
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/detritus-1-2
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Odds & ends, phone messages, field recordings, musical snippets.




C. Reider – Disrepair
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/disrepair
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Spacious ambient guitar improvisation




C. Reider – Distressing
http://eg0cide.com/2014/01/18/eg0_107-c-reider-distressing/
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Exploring glitch & degradation from stretching, using “annoying” sounds as a base




C. Reider – I’d’ve
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/idve
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Autumnal drones




C. Reider – Not Subliminal
http://controlvalve.net
Control Valve || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Gritty, lo-fi experimentations with cassettes




C. Reider – The Plangents
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/plangents.html
Vuzh Music || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Repetitive themes remembered from dreams.







Recommended Netlabel Releases of 2014






Mysterybear – Absence Sleeps Between The Buildings At Night
http://www.stasisfield.com/releases/year12/sf-12001.html
Stasisfield || Copyright No derivs!
     Electronic drones paired with field recordings. Works exceptionally well.




Jay-Dea Lopez – AC
http://www.galaverna.org/?p=3003
Galaverna || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     A composition of field recordings made in domestic locations.




Félix Blume – A los cuatro vientos
https://sonicterrain.bandcamp.com/album/str-020-a-los-cuatro-vientos
Sonic Terrain || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rich, full, captivating sounds. Based on field recordings. Simply amazing.




Eucci – apt.
http://euc.cx/rive/034/index.html
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Six hour-long recordings of the interior ambience of an apartment, with all six hours layered to make a one hour album. The idea was to record when no one was in the apartment, but someone entered, unplanned.




Chris Lynn & Daniel Barbiero – Augmented Landscapes
https://zeromoon.bandcamp.com/album/augmented-landscapes
Zeromoon || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Double bass plus field recordings.




Schemawound – A Young Person’s Guide To Time Travel
http://music.schemawound.com/album/a-young-persons-guide-to-time-travel
Self-Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Evocative electronic compositions based on the theme of time travel.




Tom Ellard – Barbara Channel 3
https://severedheads.bandcamp.com/album/barbara-channel-3
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Ellard describes it as “EZ Listening Tones and Numbers”. Seven musical environments presented as one long track.




Iris Garrelfs – Bedroom Symphonies
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/bedroom-symphonies
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions based around heavily effected vocals.




Guy Birkin – Bits
http://basicsounds.ca/2014/06/02/bsc_046/
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Algorithmically generative quasi-techno. Bips & boops.




Paints ov Anima – Brassica
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog?entry_id=2322846
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Muscley noise drone.




303 – Brownian Motion
https://archive.org/details/JAM001
Cota303 || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Sorta 90s chillout ambient techno but with glitchy noise drone influences. Not quite like microsound-techno.




Cinchel – Circle
https://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/circle
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Music from an installation. The cover art is a set of instructions for setting up the installation. Each track is a long drone work meant to be a single channel in the multi-channel piece. I haven’t listened to this in its intended form, but it does work very nicely as a set of individual drone pieces.




Martin Rach – Concerto For Imaginary Ensemble and Electronics
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at051-martin-rach/
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Traditional instruments paired with noise electronics & processing. The musical approach is sorta jazz meets new music, with harshness. I hope this approach is further explored.




John Kannenberg – Cordolium
https://johnkannenberg.bandcamp.com/album/cordolium
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Processed field recordings intended to be audio poetry.




Disconnector – dark/sky
https://disconnector.bandcamp.com/album/dark-sky
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Fine contemporary ambient, some of it reminiscent of Loscil. Very crisp & modern sounding (which almost puts me off, actually… but it’s too good to pass up.)




oier iruretagoiena – Ebaki
https://archive.org/details/EBAKI_201407
Chirria Sello || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Electronic insect sounds.




Lee Rosevere – Echo Peace
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/Echo_Peace/
Happy Puppy Records || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Relaxing and groovy chill techno stuff, some krautrock influences detected, but mostly in the FSOL vein. It’s really well put together, and a testament to its quality is the fact that I just don’t spend much time with “this kind of music”, but I’ve been digging this a lot.




Christian Doil – Ein Stück Ostsee
http://rainnetlabel.blogspot.com/2014/11/ein-stuck-ostsee-rain057.html
Rain Netlabel || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sort of a nautical sound to this ambient music… the first track sounds like 20 story tall windchimes sounding next to a foggy seaside. The second is more granular, but still with the occasional seagull passing by.




Spectrical – Emergent Forms
http://www.con-v.org/cnv79.html
Con-V || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     An everchanging longform piece of dingedrone, occasionally light breaks through the clouds…




Lauren Redhead – entoptic landscape
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr123-lauren-redhead-entoptic-landscape/
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Four performances of a composition with open notation. Each of them sounds totally different. A pleasant variety of experimental sounds inspired by a visual phenomenon.




Eucci – envi.
http://euc.cx/rive/065/index.html
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Industrial ambient composition, akin to NWW / Hafler Trio.




Ryzykowna Wyprawa Batyskafem – ep
https://idealstatenonumberseries.bandcamp.com/album/ep-2
IdealState No Number Series || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Highly textured improv featuring processed sax, odds & ends and electronics.




Eren Silence – Eren III
https://erensilence.bandcamp.com/album/eren-iii
Self-Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Drifting, yet highly dissonant dronescapes. Tense & relaxing all at the same time.




Colin Webster and Graham Dunning – Estigate
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/estigate
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A bunch of gritty improvs with Webster’s sax & Dunning’s unique modified turntable setup.




The Inner Shore – Extracts from an Unknown Science
https://eg0cide.bandcamp.com/album/eg0-115-the-inner-shore-extracts-from-an-unknown-science
Eg0cide || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Harmonics-laden drone with an alien sheen.




Stephanie (Lak) Germaine – Free #98B3E
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog?entry_id=2346476
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Tortured noise-synth circuitry and some plodding drum machine, and some muffled singing, and some plunky guitar, and some squelchy sounds, and… and … and…




D’Incise – Graphein
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at071-dincise/
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very understated piece using only the sounds of pencils on paper.




Chris Whitehead – Habitat for Metal Plants
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/habitats-for-metal-plants
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Compositions made from improvised performances made during location recordings. I think he recorded at least some of this at industrial locations, if I read his twitter feed correctly. I may be mistaken. The metal plants in question are supposed to be metallo-botanical.




Carlo Barbagallo – Haikus
https://archive.org/details/HK10CarloBarbagallo
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     Concise, indescribable little vignettes of abstracted sound. As with the rest of Subterranean Tide’s Haiku series, the first track is five minutes long, the second is seven, and the third is five minutes long again.




Jeff Kolar – Hallmark Cards Vol. 2: Happy Birthday To You
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Jeff_Kolar/Hallmark_Cards_Vol_2_Happy_Birthday_To_You/02HappyBirthdayToYou
HAK Lo-Fi Record || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Birthday themed Hallmark cards with audio chips were circuit bent. Alternately annoying, fascinating and amusing.




Lucie Vitková – Ideas and Techniques
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr100-lucie-vitkova-ideas-and-techniques/
Pan Y Rosas Discos || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Improvisations for accordian, harmonica and voice. Intense restraint… quite beautiful.




Graham Dunning – Kiosk One
https://grahamdunning.bandcamp.com/album/kiosk-one
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Documentation of Dunning’s adventures in modified turntable. This has actually got some really funky grooves.




Francisco Meirino – Knowing More How Than Why
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab086.htm
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse presentation of many fascinating sounds. This is kinda pretty much unmissable, I love this record.




Radere – Koschei
http://basicsounds.ca/2014/08/01/bsc_048/
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Colorado guitar-drone czar fills yr head with fuzz.




Norah Lorway – Kulør
https://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/kul-r-2
Xylem || Mixed Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Droning compositions with samples from numbers stations.




Eucci – Like the City, We’re Bound to Last
http://euc.cx/rive/068/index.html
Rive || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A couple of wandering collages filled with all manner of interesting abstracted sounds from unknown sources.




Marlo Eggplant – Live
https://museumofmicrocassetteart.bandcamp.com/album/moma118-marlo-eggplant-live
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Marlo getting down with ‘harpy’ the autoharp plus piezo & looper. Two live performances recorded to lo-fi microcassette.




‘kirchenkampf’ – Live April 2014
https://kirchenkampf.bandcamp.com/track/live-april-2014
Self-Released || Copyright No derivs!
     Live spacey synth stuff. Nice to hear something like this from this longtime colleague.




Hexeneiche – Meditation Mishaps
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog/2341507/ctrl_vlv_052__hexeneiche__meditation-mishaps/
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Loopy lo-fi sample-based thingie… at times jackhammery, other times almost relaxing.




PCRV – Mobile Research Music
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog/2344211/ctrl_vlv_053__pcrv__mobile-research-music/
Control Valve || No License Listed No derivs!
     Very diverse album of noise made with various smartphone apps. Ranges from oddball collages to synth smear to all out noise assault.




Jakob Draminsky Højmark – Musique d’ameublement
https://archive.org/details/hr085
Hazard Records || CC0 Derivs allowed!
     A live improv of processed bass clarinet.




Stuart Chalmers – Night Butterfly
https://archive.org/details/StuartChalmers-NightButterfly
Open Sound Group || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Sound work based on performances with tape. Loops and warbles. Possibly classify under hauntology?




Petej Amon – Noise Psychotic Episodes
https://archive.org/details/HAZE298
Haze Netlabel || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Rough, distorted and noisy, somehow strangely hypnotizing.




Pedro Chambel – Nothing Ever Happens – Chance Music Number 1
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab096.htm
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glassy electronic tonescape.




Miquel Parera – NXA005PD-2014-01-05_03_32_07 / NXA005PD-2014-01-21_22_29_57
https://petroglyphmusic.bandcamp.com/album/miquel-parera-two-iterations-of-nxa005pd
Petroglyph Music || Copyright No derivs!
     Algorithmically generated soundfields made in puredata & processing.




Ene – Paper Tigers
https://enemusic23.bandcamp.com/album/paper-tigers
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A big hot mess of beats and things.




PBK & Brent Gutzeit – PBK BMG 1
https://pbksound.bandcamp.com/album/pbk-bmg-1-2007
PBKSound || Copyright No derivs!
     Noiseambient. I like it very much.




Half Evidence – Rain Spirits
http://eg0cide.com/2014/03/20/eg0_111-half-evidence-rain-spirits/
Eg0cide || Multiple Licenses Some tracks allow derivs, others don’t
     Pretty together sounding group guitar improvs, percussive & scrapey.




Andrew Weathers – Raised High in Badwater Basin
http://basicsounds.ca/2014/12/01/bsc_052/
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Look, I’m sorry… it’s hard to go wrong with something flavored like Terry Riley + krautrock. The second track is more Eno-ish than Riley-ish.




Phirnis & The Euphoric Hum – Red Light
http://fwonk.co.uk/135/
Fwonk || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A document of a live performance with modular synth, guitar & laptop




Cinchel – Reign Water
https://subterraneantide.bandcamp.com/album/reign-water
Subterranean Tide || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Cinchel picks up a synth and lays down the jams. The oddbient jams.




Longstone – -リサイクル risaikuru
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/risaikuru
Linear Obsessional || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Musical interpretations of photographs paired with location recordings. All inspired by the catastrophic 2011 earthquake, and tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. Given the subject material, this is not very dark music, it’s quite lovely. Also out on a 12″ vinyl record.




The Glittering Hand – Rising
https://theglitteringhand.bandcamp.com/
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Very interesting & constantly transforming lo bit-rate drone music, it reminds me in some ways of the spooky ambient soundtrack to Doom64.




Malaventura – Salaam Shalom
https://archive.org/details/MalaventuraSalaamShalom
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Remixes of some Arabic / Jewish / Andalusian music from vinyl. Hard to ignore the Muslimgauze-ish sound, but that’s no bad thing in my book.




rngmnn – Selected Dark Ambient Works (98-14)
http://1798.1mhz.org/album/selected-dark-ambient-works-98-14
1798 Records || Copyright No derivs!
     Pretty much like it says. A big release lotsa good stuff here.




Atilio Doreste – Shifting Boundaries
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at072-atilio-doreste/
Audiotalaia || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Circuit bending + location recordings.




Restive – Small Tales for Urban Living
http://mahorka.org/release/145
Mahorka || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     New work by one of my favorite underground abstract composers. This time he incorporates more urban field recordings into the mix.




Osvaldo Ciblis – soundart2014
http://osvaldocibils.com/soundart/soundart2014.html
Self Released || CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
     A massive, sprawling 15 release set of abstract electronic textures. I haven’t been able to listen to it all, as I’ve just discovered it thanks to a recommendation from Miquel Parera… but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include it here, because what I’ve heard is fantastic.




offthesky – stationaryrace
http://basicsounds.ca/2014/04/01/bsc_044/
Basic Sounds || CC BY NC ND No derivs!
     Another Colorado colleague, this is some super lush contemporary ambient.




Dr. NoiseM – Suicide City
https://archive.org/details/PLATARECS72
Plataforma Recs || CC BY ND No derivs!
     Kinda electronic subway sounds, constantly passing by.




Jess Lemont – They Sound Like 80s Telephones and Squirrels & Cats with Little Laser Beams [Jess Lemont 10-28-14… and, also, the laser beams are fake, by the way]
https://jesslemont.bandcamp.com/album/ep-they-sound-like-80s-telephones-and-squirrels-cats-with-little-laser-beams-jess-lemont-10-28-14-and-also-the-laser-beams-are-fake-by-the-way
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Blammo! Hyper-frenetic jams with drums & electronics and some other instruments. Kinda hard to really describe it, but it’s good.




Cinchel – The Timing Was Right For A Walk In the Woods (Take 2)
https://theavocadotapes.bandcamp.com/track/the-timing-was-right-for-a-walk-in-the-woods-take-2
The Avocado Tapes || Copyright No derivs!
     Yummy live cincheltronic guitar performance.




Gregg Skloff – This Time The Ride Belongs To Us
https://greggskloff.bandcamp.com/album/this-time-the-ride-belongs-to-us
Self Released || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Ambient in the good way.




‘kirchenkampf’ – transmissions
https://kirchenkampf.bandcamp.com/album/transmissions-3
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     This is some pretty minimal and dark stuff from this artist, love it. Hissing synth geysers.




Chimess – Tujiko Noriko
https://archive.org/details/foot232
BumpFoot || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     A diverse collection of not-quite ambient music, odd but pretty calm.




Jeph Jerman / Tony Whitehead – Underwater
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab089.htm
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Improvisations with objects underwater. The master tape was submerged in a creek for a time.




Yann Leguay – Unstatic
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab100.htm
Impulsive Habitat || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Based on induction coil recordings of hard drives.




The Inner Shore – Waves on a Pure Surface
http://textural-rec.com/waves-on-a-pure-surface/
Textural Records || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Glistening, pinging drones.




PBK – Winterscrubbed
https://museumofmicrocassetteart.bandcamp.com/album/moma102-winterscrubbed
Museum of Microcassette Art || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Lo-fi noise from this master.




Tahnzz – XILA
https://tahnzz.bandcamp.com/album/xila
Self Released || Copyright No derivs!
     New Mexico noise. Abrasive and laid-back. I have to mention the cover art, because I like it, so…
ETA: OOOPS. I just noticed that this actually came out in 2013, but I’m leaving it on this list anyway, ’cause that’s how I roll.




Martin Rach – Zitherphonics
https://surrism-phonoethics.bandcamp.com/album/zitherphonics
SuRRism Phonoethics || CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
     Martin plays his zither with a little electronic fan.




2013 review and 57 Notable Netlabel releases

Sunday, 12 December 2013

I’ve gotten a bit wordy in previous year-end review blog posts, so this time I’m going to keep it a little simpler. The deal is this: I’m going to post five lists of 2013 releases: one each detailing all of the releases of the year on my three netlabels Vuzh Music, Dystimbria and Derivative and then one listing all of my own stuff that was put out on various netlabels this year. I’d be very pleased if you took the time to listen to some of them.

After that is the list of my favorite things I found from listening to netlabel music this year. I’ve got 57 titles to recommend this time. I’ll try to write a few descriptive words for each of the things in that list.

If you want to look at my previous year-end lists, here’s 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

Everything listed below is free to download (with the exception of my cassette release “Hold Music”… it is obtainable by trading or paying)



2013 Releases on Vuzh Music



Le Berger – “Trivial Cataclysms”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/trivial.html


Mysterybear – “the Quiet Sun”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/sun.html


Leo Bettinelli / Jaume Muntsant – “Wingu”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/wingu.html


Daniel Barbiero – “Four Transformations”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/transform.html


Miquel Parera – “MUME Selections”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/mume.html


Schemawound – “Occupy Dreamland”
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/releases/occupy.html


Caroline Park – “RIM”
http://vuzhmusic.com/releases/rim.html



2013 Releases on Derivative Netlabel



C. Reider – “the Conjuncts”
http://www.deriv.cc/works/?p=50


Kid Feardive – “Toyland”
http://www.deriv.cc/works/?p=200


A Small Glass Ghost – “Fake Beats”
http://www.deriv.cc/works/?p=245


Various Artists – “and…and…and… (Disquiet Junto derivations of The Conjuncts by C. Reider)”
http://www.deriv.cc/works/?p=264



2013 Releases on Dystimbria


Schemawound – “Beasts (Homonculus-Basilisk)”
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/BEASTS%28Homunculus-Basilisk%29/16864

Scott Lawlor – “The Ebb and Flow of the Cycle of Time”
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/The+Ebb+and+Flow+of+the+Cycle+of+Time/16865

Katie Gately – “Across the River”
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/Across+the+River/16884

the Icarus Descent – “Forsaken Ghosts”
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/Forsaken+Ghosts/17002



2013 Releases by C. Reider on various netlabels



C. Reider – “Edge and Artifact” (Ilse Netlabel)
http://ilse.bandcamp.com/album/edge-and-artifact


C. Reider – “the Conjuncts” (Derivative Netlabel)
http://www.deriv.cc/works/?p=50


C. Reider – “Failing CD Player” (Ideal State No Number Series)
http://idealstatenonumberseries.bandcamp.com/album/failing-cd-player


C. Reider – “Hold Music” (Vuzh Music)
http://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/hold-music


C. Reider – “Oído con plomo” (Impulsive Habitat)
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab081.htm




Fifty-Seven Notable Netlabel Releases of 2013

(presented alphabetically)
Since this list is kind of daunting, I’ve denoted “can’t miss” items with a little pulsing GOLD STAR GIF … but seriously, if you just picked a few of these albums at random and downloaded them, you’d have one hell of an interesting playlist.


Meanwhile, here’s a mix “cloudcast” I made with a bunch of cool tracks from many of these records. Listen while you read?


Notable Netlabel Music 2013 by Vuzh on Mixcloud







@c – Half-Life, Still Life
Crónica – CC BY SA Derivs allowed!
http://www.cronicaelectronica.org/?p=077

Art music composed for various installations and commissions. Computer collisions of percussion and field recordings.





Aerosol Constellations – Things Will Never Be the Same
Panospria – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://www.notype.com/drones/cat.e/pan_077/

Dronestuff with various skitterings and scatterings.





Alozeau and Miquel Parera – Five Structures and a Cold Void
Treetrunk – CC BY SA Derivs allowed!
http://treetrunkrecords.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/miquel-parera-and-alozeau-five-structures-and-a-cold-void-treetrunk-270/

A departure for perennial favorite Miquel Parera. Rhythmic loops and textures and gestures join with the long dronings.




       
Avelino Saavedra – MUD
Audiotalaia – Conflicted licensing! Listed as CC BY NC ND at label’s site & CC BY NC SA at archive. Forced to presume: No derivs!
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at063-avelino-saavedra/

A beautiful collection of explorations using a massive Udu drum run through processing, used in feedback experiments, and simply played with light delay. I like the focus of using a single sound source and finding as many unique sounds & approaches as you can. Really great stuff here.





Daniel Barbiero – Allusions to Fogs and Liquids (Complex Silence 37)
Treetrunk – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://treetrunkrecords.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/daniel-barbiero-complex-silence-37-treetrunk-275/

Slow, overtone-rich improvisation on double-bass.





Lali Barrière – Unknotted
Audiotalaia – Conflicted licensing! Listed as CC BY NC ND at label’s site & CC BY NC SA at archive. Forced to presume: No derivs!
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at067-Lali-Barriere

A pair of improvisatory explorations with everyday objects. Quiet, intimate… a perfect opportunity for attentive listening.





Tommy Birchett + Ben Owen – Untitled Improvisation
Homophoni – License not listed No derivs!
http://homophoni.com/homo054.html

A hushed improvisation using glass, motors & maxMSP.





Adrià Bofarull & Joan Saura – Cràter
TecnoNucleo – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://www.tecnonucleo.org/index.php?page=release&release=38

Musique Concrète. Embarrassingly, I had presumed for most of the year that this was a collaboration between two women, due to my American associations with those names, but Bofarull and Saura are men. I guess that has nothing to do with the sound, just a thing.





CDRX – Greetings from Heidiland
Eg0cide – CC BY SA Derivs allowed!
http://eg0cide.com/2013/03/03/eg0_092-cdrx-greetings-from-heidiland/

A confounding collage of processed site recordings and electronic additions. The sounds for this thematic tribute to Switzerland were chosen because the composer felt they were “typically Swiss”.





Marti Guillem Ciscar – VIBRASÒ // RotorNoRoto
Audiotalaia – Conflicted licensing! Listed as CC BY NC ND at label’s site & CC BY NC SA at archive. Forced to presume: No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/at066MartiGuillem

Pretty cool sounds here, the first track made with objects vibrating due to synth-driven speaker cones, some un-effected sounds and some computer manipulation. The second is made from a turntable motor interacting with other sounding objects.





Cloud City Cars – & The Cult of Fine Cabinetry
self released – CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
http://cloudcitycars.bandcamp.com/album/the-cult-of-fine-cabinetry

Opiated loops of what sounds like an extremely distorted guitar with all the high end rolled off. Works for me.




       
Viv Corringham – Gum + Butts
Linear Obsessional – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/gum-butts

The document of a somewhat incredible project wherein Corringham does site recordings in various places while improvising a vocal performance (mostly extended techniques, and some freeform sung tones) in response to the space and to what she hears. This kind of interaction with environmental sound is thoroughly intriguing to me, especially when done with something so intimate as human voice. I often find myself responding to this album with my own vocalizations, allowing my own surrounding environmental sounds to intermingle while listening, all barriers falling away. This is a captivating recording, I can’t recommend it enough.





Alan Morse Davies & Mysterybear – Sing Men and Women!
At Sea / self released – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://mysterybear.bandcamp.com/album/sing-men-and-women

Deep electronic drone music. The oscillations and interferences in these long drones kind of turn my brain into half-melted margarine.





Joshua Davison – I Been Thinking Of The Universe
Jackknife Barlow – CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
http://jackknifebarlow.bandcamp.com/album/i-been-thinking-of-the-universe

Sparse modular synth patterns recalling ’70s works by TanDream, Mother Mallard, Ashra, or perhaps more appropriately, recalling the synth revivalism of bands like Forma. One track title name-checks Vangelis. I’m suspicious of myself for liking this, wondering if it stems from a nostalgic bent, but I do like it, so I guess that’s that.





D’Incise – De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari
Reductive – no license listed No derivs!
http://www.cimaural.net/reductivemusic/dincise.html

Minimal rumbles & high pitched pings for 15 minutes. Toward the end of it, there’s some kind of squishy sounds





Eucci – Dirty Modern Tapes 2013
self released – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://sunhill.bandcamp.com/album/dirty-modern-tapes-2013

Noisy modular synth music. Sounds like at any minute it might go blasto.





Evematic – Bisonogram
Earthrid – Copyright No derivs!
http://earthrid.bandcamp.com/album/bisonogram

This album is by an artist named Eve Thacker, who died in January of this year. Earthrid re-released this 2004 album as a free download in memory of her. Synthy percussives & not-quite melodies. The album kinda goes back & forth between dark-ish, moody constructions and then beepy, boopy tone-loops that tumble around in a lopsided groove. Circa-1985 this might have been called “industrial music” (Trent Reznor hadn’t yet hit puberty, so lunk-headed rock music wasn’t de rigeur in that most debased of genres). The album could’ve done with some editing, most tracks have a charming “unfinished” quality about them, but some tracks ~really~ sound unfinished. Even so, I’ve enjoyed listening to it.





Cosmo Gardner + Jack Harris + Samuel Rodgers – we’ve had enough of this powdered wig algebra
Homophoni – no license listed No derivs!
http://homophoni.com/homo055.html

Three improvisors in a state of near suspended animation; this is exceptionally restrained. At times all you hear is the sound of the performers listening.





Mario Guida – FlussoSottile
Batenim – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://www.batenimnetlabel.net/BN_LP005_05_13.html

Ringing resonances and jittery granulations.





Half Evidence – Le Cachot Lumineux
Eg0cide – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/eg0_088_237

A half-an-hour-long piece of gently droned & plucked & scraped stringed instruments.





Kev Hopper – Tonka Beano
Linear Obsessional – License varies by track, some deriv, some ND
http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/tonka-beano

Love that album title. This is big collection of fun, weird, little proto-techno rhythm studies. Could’ve done with a bit of editorial trimming, but yeah.





The Implicit Order – Drifters
self released – CC BY ND No derivs!
http://theimplicitorder.bandcamp.com/album/drifters

Anthony’s work in recent years seems to have made a turn into explicitly melancholy territory, this one is just about as sad as you can get. He takes inspiration from having known a young transient girl who was murdered by a drifting psychopath, apparently. All the normal elements are here for a work by IO, liberal sampling from musical & TV sources make up just about everything you hear.





ISZ -Miquel Isaza- – 200X
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab068.htm

From a very quiet start, it builds into a sprawling swampscape of insects & amphibian buzzes & burbles.





Jatun – The Mass of Portland
self released – Copyright No derivs!
http://jatun.bandcamp.com/album/the-mass-of-portland

A lo-fi loop of some faux-primitive drumming backed with some vinyl crackle develops as droning synth & guitar enter the mix. Effectively the synth/guitar drone feels like a coda, but it lasts for most of the duration of the 45 minute long piece.




       
John Kannenberg – Audio Tour: The 4’33” Museum – Collection 2
Stasisfield – Copyright No derivs!
http://www.stasisfield.com/releases/year11/sf-11002.html

Kannenberg’s project of doing site recording at museums around the world is further documented here, with a series of four minute, thirty-three second long excerpts, his “secret performances” of John Cage’s well known composition.





‘kirchenkampf’ – Europa
self released – Copyright No derivs!
http://kirchenkampf.bandcamp.com/track/europa

Synth-based space music from this old comrade.





Kirill Platonkin – Clouds for Breakfast
Xylem – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/clouds-for-breakfast

A great goulash of sound, everything is thrown into the pot… toy instrument noodling, spacey organs, field recordings, snippets of Russian folk-pop, just sorta whatever. This kind of thing could end up being an overcooked mush, but all the flavors blend together pretty well. I’m hungry now, stupid metaphor.





Jeff Kolar – Ice Cream Truck Songs
self released – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://jeffkolar.us/icecreamtrucksongs

I guess that ice cream trucks’ music is generated by little electronic devices, and I guess this guy got a bunch of them and circuit bent them. Very brief, sweet little blast of spasming circuitry.





Le Berger – Variations on Not Too Much Really
self released – CC BY SA Derivs allowed!
http://leberger.bandcamp.com/album/variations-on-not-too-much-really

A collection of brief, pretty, modally interrelated guitar loops with all the rough edges sanded off. I could see these used to good effect as soundtrack music for some moody independent film.





Norah Lorway – i’ve had dreams like this
Earthrid – Copyright No derivs!
http://earthrid.bandcamp.com/album/ive-had-dreams-like-this

Ambient compositions with enough variety of mood & tone to keep my interest.




       
Marsh and May – Falling, More Slowly
Linear Obsessional – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/falling-more-slowly

This one really knocked my head around. It fakes you out by setting up an expectation of one thing with it’s almost trad-jazz sounding intro, but then the sound of the piano, drums & standup bass dissolve away, leaving twitching effected remnants. The instrumentation doesn’t actually change much throughout, but due to effects and extended techniques they aren’t so recognizable. A touchstone for what is up here might be a band like Supersilent, but that band’s approach (from what I’ve heard of it) is kind of a saturated, claustrophobic, heavy hallucinatory trip, whereas Marsh & May have a softer touch, exploring an airy, wide-open-spaces surrealism. This is a total pleasure to listen to.





Makoto Masui – Silence+
ElementPerspective – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://elementperspective04.bandcamp.com/album/silence

Birds and languid keyboard playing. Simple & clean. Short enough that it leaves you wanting more.





James McDougall / Philip Sulidae – Ecological anti realism
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab071.htm

As per the normal with the Impulsive Habitat netlabel, this is based on field recordings. There may be some electronic post-processing, it’s really hard to say for sure. There’s very little to give context to the sounds, they just exist as something to listen to. Good album title, nice work.





Christopher McFall – Quivering into your Night Blood Radio
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab064.htm

Look, it says “Christopher McFall” on the cover, so you need to get it. High quality, as usual.





Hal McGee & Jukka Pekka Kervinen – Nonsense About Espresso
Tharoop – CCBY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://tharoop.blogspot.com/2013/06/thar030-hal-mcgee-jukka-pekka-kervinen.html

A brief little chaotic abstracted sound blast. Both of these artists have worked with speaking voice quite a bit, so definitely expect some of that. Wait, nevermind, expect nothing… that’ll serve you better.




       
Abdul Moimême – Mekhaanu – La forêt des mécanismes sauvages
Insubordinations – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://insub.org/insubcd08/

Clangor! A bunch of improvisations with two prepared guitars. I love it.





Monoiz – Multiplied Phoneme
Crazy Language – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://crazylanguage.bandcamp.com/album/cl-043-monoiz-multiplied-phoneme

I try out a fair bit of minimal techno from netlabels, but it’s rarely very satisfying. A bit too much corn syrup & artificial coloring. This one is not a barn-burner or anything but I did enjoy it, as it seems to take its cues from Ryoji Ikeda rather than Tipper.





Morphine Bandit – Shamanic Anesthesia
Eg0cide – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
https://archive.org/details/eg0_086

Boy, I really hate that album title. Doesn’t matter though, these are very satisfying, pulsing drones.





Mystified – Music for Journeys
Treetrunk – CC BY Derivs allowed!
https://archive.org/details/Music_For_Journeys

Thomas Park’s scaled back his normally gargantuan efforts for the last year or so, but he still put out a good few records this year. This one evokes the relentless plodding forward of tires on pavement and the descending, doppler-shifting moan of semi-tractor-trailor trucks passing heavily with a resigned momentum.





Juan Antonio Nieto – Out of the Blue
FugaDiscos – no license listed No derivs!
http://fugadiscos.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/juan-antonio-nieto-out-of-the-blue/

Very miminal ambient stuff.





N.O.F.P. – Live @ Sonoscopia
Editora do Porto – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/edp061

Meant to mark the centenary of Luigi Russolo’s “Art of Noises” manifesto, this sounds like several performers with rattling, scraping, ratcheting metallic constructions (turns out they have a couple of intonarumori!) and some laptop manipulation (always hard to say with certainty what’s pre-recorded & what’s performed with this kind of thing). Portugal, Spain & Catalonia seem to be the places to be for contemporary musique concrete music, if I could, I’d consider a sound-tourism vacation.





Lee Noyes & Massimo Magee – Lent
Nowaki – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://www.nowaki-music.org/album.php?id=172&L=1

I was really on an improvised music kick this year wasn’t I? This one has a lot of feedback, homebrew synthesis and piezo roughness. Nowaki doesn’t really allow a direct link to the album, so you’ll need to scroll down to find this album in their catalog.





Ongaku2 – Short Stories
La Bél Netlabel – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://www.labelnetlabel.com/releases/short-stories-ongaku2

A bit of a snarky group name, right? Do they intend to be the sequel to Group Ongaku? First song sounds like a guitar & sax doing contemporary improvisation, that’s followed by a more tuneful piece with metal bowls and cello. It’s a bit of a back and forth between abstract approaches and tastefully restrained tunefulness. Instrumentation seems to change from track to track, always in pairs, so I’m presume there are two performers doing all this. Dunno, I really like it.




       
Otra Carpeta – Tranparente
Audiotalaia – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://www.audiotalaia.net/catalogue/at059-otra-carpeta/

A couple of piano based compositions and a couple of voice pieces. Really lovely. That first song seals the deal.





Owl Brain Atlas – Snow Eater
suRRism-Phonoethics – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://surrism.phonoethics.com/release/owl-brain-atlas-snow-eater/

Frantic sound collages. I love this kind of stuff and it doesn’t seem like many people are doing it anymore. I know OBA is or was based in Boulder, and I think I read somewhere that she/he(?) is a poet primarily.





Caroline Park – Field
Absence of Wax – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/CarolineParkfield

It’s a piano with one hell of a sustain pedal.




       
Phirnis – Feeding Lions
Fwonk – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://fwonk.bandcamp.com/album/fw108-feeding-lions

Gobsmacking noise-ambient composition. I’ve only just started to listen to this one very recently, but it’s damned good.





The Phreezound Orchestra
Happy Puppy Records – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Phreezound_Orchestra/The_Phreezound_Orchestra/

A collage of sounds derived from liberally licensed CC files taken from freesound.org. It coheres stupendously well.




       
David Prescott-Steed – Soap
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab067.htm

A field recording of some mysterious machinery taken by mic’ing under a big iron door. Later on he found out that the place was a soap factory. From the liner notes: “Only later did a friend explain that what I’d found so aesthetically pleasing had likely been the sounds of grinding animal bones and bits. At this point, the alluring became the abject and I started to think about the ethics of listening.” For some reason these sounds are really alluring and hypnotizing, as ugly and grinding as they are. Now that I’m thinking about it, it kind of reminds me of that incredible noise piece “Das Schaben” on Einstürzende Neubauten’s “Halber Mensch” album that fucking re-aligned my head when I was sixteen.





Red Fog – Zone of Avoidance
DNA Production – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/dna_146_red_fog_zone_of_avoidance

This guy just makes the most lush, vaporous drones.





Oriol Rosell – [live]bcn260311
Republica Iberia Ruidista – no license listed No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/OriolRosellLivebcn260311

A couple of things I’ve been into lately is tones that are on the edge of perception… very high frequencies and very low ones. I am quite interested in how we listen to these tones, and the strange effect they have on the physical structures of the ear. I worked with these frequencies in my own “Edge and Artifact” from this year. This live performance (I’m guessing laptop) uses the same kinds of tones. Very little information that’s not at the edges of our hearing range.




       
Richard Sanderson – Air Buttons
Linear Obsessional – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/air-buttons

This album only released this month, but I have no problem recommending it as one of the best of the year. The sound source is melodeon, and Sanderson takes us through many different techniques of either electronically mangling the sounds or leaving them raw.





Schemawound – Haiku
Subterranean Tide – CC BY NC Derivs allowed!
http://www.subterraneantide.com/hk07-schemawound.html

Schemawound – Terraform Mars
Xylem – CC BY Derivs allowed!
http://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/terraform-mars

Since I found out about him last year, Schemawound has put out a string of consistently good work. Subterranean Tide’s admirable Haiku project (wherein artists choose a haiku and make three tracks, one for each of the verses) has him contribute a calm, creepy set paired with a haiku about a gnawing larva. Terraform Mars is a set of rhythmic tracks with an industrial tinge. Schemawound has a painterly approach, taking the “soundscape” term literally by evoking landscapes with sound. Makes me curious if I’d think differently about these two pieces if they had different song titles.





Sonologist – Ipotesi del Continuo
Petroglyph – CC BY NC ND No derivs!
https://archive.org/details/petroglyph_054_SONOLOGYST_Ipotesi_del_continuo

Studies in gesture and resonance.





Piotr Tkacz & Alice Hui-Sheng Chang – micro
IdealState No Number Series – CC BY NC SA Derivs allowed!
http://idealstatenonumberseries.bandcamp.com/album/micro

A very tiny collection of improvisations with Tkacz using scraping, squeeking materials and Chang vocalizing primarily with extended techniques and using a looper to double her voice with a slight delay. I really liked this… and it’s so brief that I kind of wish there were more.





Andrew Weathers, Erik Schoster & Jason Nanna – Translation
Basic Sounds – no license listed No derivs!
http://basicsounds.ca/2013/12/02/bsc_040/

From a very, very quiet, long fade in (it’s over five minutes before I can hear anything at all at a low-medium volume) these three improvisors build a thematically centered ambient moodscape. Instrumentation is guitar, laptop(s), microtonal modular synth and there may be sundry other soundmakers. Events seem to drift around each other while still hanging suspended, like a gently oscillating mobile. “In a Silent Way” is a possible touchstone, but what this more explicitly reminds me of is the ambient work of David Sylvian such as “Approaching Silence” and his collaboration with Holger Czukay “Plight and Premonition”. Like Sylvian’s work, this one veers dangerously close to feeling just slightly too precious, (sans the high-polish, there’s enough roughness in the mix here for me, (and after all, I do like those Sylvian things)).




June Netlabel Recommendations

Saturday, 07 July 2013

Here are links to netlabel releases I enjoyed this June. All are free.
Go listen, go download.

Carlos Suarez, 23RedAnts, MDMMEDipt
HAZE – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://h-a-z-e.org/archives/1728#.UdhdEVPOnE8



Hal Mcgee & Jukka-Pekka KervinenNonsense About Espresso
Tharoop – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://tharoop.blogspot.com/2013/06/thar030-hal-mcgee-jukka-pekka-kervinen.html



CinchelQuiet Nights, Lonesome Woods
Self Released – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/quiet-nights-lonesome-woods



Kirill PlatonkinClouds for Breakfast
Xylem – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/clouds-for-breakfast



Norah LorwayFade
Xylem – Mixed licensing (CC BY NC ND & Copyright) – Boo! No derivs!
http://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fade



SchemawoundHaiku 07
Subterranean Tide – CC BY NC – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://archive.org/details/HK07Schemawound



Pedro Chambel, Bruno DuplantI do not really know what music is, but contrariwise quite rather well what is a sound
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab070.htm



Philip Sulidae / James McDougallEcological Anti-Realism
Impulsive Habitat – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab071.htm



Negative SpectrumBeneath
Xylem – Copyright – Boo! No derivs!
http://xylemrecords.bandcamp.com/album/beneath



‘kirchenkampf’Europa
Self Released – Copyright – Boo! No derivs!
http://kirchenkampf.bandcamp.com/track/europa



Marsh and MayFalling, More Slowly
Linear Obsessional – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/falling-more-slowly



Mario GuidaFlussoSottile
Batenim – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://www.batenimnetlabel.net/BN_LP005_05_13.html



Highway17Into the Grain
SuRRism-Phonoethics – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://surrism.phonoethics.com/release/highway17-into-the-grain/



Jack HertzPicnic at La Brea
SuRRism-Phonoethics – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://surrism.phonoethics.com/release/jack-hertz-picnic-at-la-brea/



Luis Ortegakonzequensyas
amplified.music.pollution – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://archive.org/details/amp131



N.O.F.P.Live @ Sonoscopia May 8, 2013
Editora Do Porto – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://archive.org/details/edp061



Adrià Bofarull & Joan SauraCràter
TecnoNucleo – CC BY NC SA – Yay! Derivs allowed!
http://tecnonucleo.org/index.php?page=release&release=38



Caroline ParkField
Absence of Wax – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://archive.org/details/CarolineParkfield



CDRXthe same sunday afternoon as all the others
Buddhist on Fire – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://archive.org/details/bof051



Aerosol ConstellationsThings Will Never Be The Same
Panospria – CC BY NC ND – Boo! No derivs!
http://archive.org/details/pan077


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