RYUICHI SAKAMOTO/ILLUHA/TAYLOR DUPREE: Perpetual CD 12k

sakamotodupree

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO/ILLUHA/TAYLOR DUPREE: Perpetual CD 12k

Sakamoto, Illuha and Dupree join forces on this collaboration; and this latest release is the performance they gave together one wet summer in Japan, including a joint installation marking their 10-year anniversary as artists and performers.

Separated into three ‘Movements’, ‘Perpetual’ captures the individual strains and textures that each of this trio bring to the table. Never before have these three artists worked together; and the ease at which everything folds into place, shows they were tailor made for each other.

Pump organs, piano, guitar and synth; flow as a blissful wave of ambient dreamscapes and textured air. Clouds of analogue and digital frequencies drift together and diffuse the silence, which is a prominent factor in giving each instrument it’s own platform to shine.

As a whole, ‘Perpetual’ demands attention and a vast degree of patience. Given the time however, there is much to become enveloped and engrossed in, as glitch-ridden droplets of sound cling to the skin of your ears and drench the listener’s soul from within.

8.5/10

ALEXANDER RISHAUG: MA.Org Pa.Git LP Crónica

alexanderrishaug

ALEXANDER RISHAUG: MA.Org Pa.Git LP Crónica

This expansive 2 track LP was recorded live in the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Rotterdam January 2012 and has just seen light of day now. As the fifth solo release from Rishaug, he concentrates his efforts on the mechanics of a dusty old church organ, an old tube amp and electric guitar.

Utilising the natural harmonics and acoustics of the building, bodes well for a project such as this. The creaks and groans of the old church play as much a part as the instrumentation, in building an atmosphere that derives its influence from Dark Ambient and shuddering Drone.

Side B differs from its opening counterpart. Where Side A concentrates its efforts on natural acoustics, ‘Pa.Git’ relies on the tube amps shudders and grinds as the guitar resonates through the mix.

The music itself is heavily processed without doubt; although recomposed and restructured in the studio at a later date, the natural ambience and feel that Rishaug obviously tried to achieve is not lost on the listener.

Overall, this is an solid release that benefits from both sides of the vinyl representing two sides of a coin that approach Alexander’s audience from two differing perspectives; although just whether I will play it again after one listen, is an altogether different question.

7.5/10

NÉMETH: Koi 12” EP/DL Sonotope

nemeth-koi

NÉMETH: Koi 12” EP/DL Sonotope

This is the first release from Stefan Németh (of Innode and Lokai fame) under his own name since ‘Film’ on the Thrill Jockey label in 2008. As a brief soundtrack to the short movie ‘KOI’ by Tinhoko, this latest output is a revision of the original score.

Side A grinds its way up from the depths, with a pulsating Dark Ambient dust cloud which eventually collapses into a wash of resonating light drones and air filled pads, that glide to the centre frame and hold steady; allowing for a gentle heartbeat to flutter underneath the mix.

Side B, in contrast relies on space and silence for elements of its predecessor to filter through in different ranges; and whilst being more than competent, loses some of the ground that was previously achieved, if not rescued briefly at the end with a throbbing distorted Fennesz-like brilliance.

‘Koi’ is extremely limited. Just released on five dub plates in hand built packaging is enough to get the collector in me chomping at the bit; but ever so slightly aggrieved in knowing I will never own an original copy. I would personally have sourced a fully established label, rather than leave this in the hands of a format for mass consumption I thoroughly despise (digital download). Never mind.

7.8/10

MARSEN JULES: The Empire of Silence CD Oktaf

marsenjulesempire

MARSEN JULES: The Empire of Silence CD Oktaf

Celebrating a ten-year long career, Marsen Jules provides us with an album dedicated to vast landscapes of snow and ice; with this, ‘The Empire of Silence’.

I have been impressed thus far with Jules’ output by and large; and this latest opus is no exception. With a serene range of layered pads, opener ‘Penstla’ glides across white dunes, allowing for ‘Tlaslo’ to brush the surface up into majestic icy dust devils.

‘The Empire…’ as a whole is a thematically sturdy release that sticks to it’s chosen subject matter well. The downside is that along the way things don’t differ much from track one to eight as a whole; however, Jules capitalises on the albums strength in the overall familiarity and fragility throughout, where the end result feels like one long seamless interlude of tranquillity.

Marsen has hit something here that I found missing on other releases. With a clever use of spatial ambient awareness, he has covered the beauty of falling snowflakes, to the frostbiting gales of the Antarctic; where the beauty hides a brutality that is never felt from the panes of glass this album is viewed through. Touching on some of the mightier works of Fennesz is no mean feat; but here he achieves this with gusto.

9.5/10

SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON: So Long CD The Helen Scarsdale Agency

sigtryggur-berg-sigmarsson-so-long

SIGTRYGGUR BERG SIGMARSSON: So Long   CD The Helen Scarsdale Agency

Taking approximately fifteen years to complete Sigmarsson provides us with three long tracks of ambient and drone over the space of and hour and seven minutes. For some this will test the patience; for others this will provide an opportunity to sit and observe what appears in the cracks and crevices of subtlety along the way. I sit in the middle, in all honesty; and approached this work with minor trepidation.

The aptly titled ‘So Long’, is an interesting affair for the most part; it works better on CD as well, as this would be broken up too much in any other format.   Resonating swells appear through the dense fog of machine hums and breathing field recordings; and ‘Eight Hour Delay’ eventually unfolds into a cloud of ghostly Dark Ambient.

‘The Trip’ starts immediately where its predecessor left off, evolving into a sea of elevating pads that echo out as a beacon of light; guiding the ship of sound to shore, where the ‘Late Night Arrival’ takes an altogether more sinister turn. Awaiting our traveller sits a harbour of desolate blackness where the ominous hum of digital blackness engulfs all that drop anchor.

Overall, ‘So Long’ is a gripping and intriguing journey, that rewards the more patient out there, with many a twist and turn for those with eager ears; to latch onto the minor nuances of sound that interrupt this subterranean behemoth of Drone.

9/10

BARON OUFO: Dar Al-Hikma LP/MC/CD Quadrilab

baronoufo

BARON OUFO: Dar Al-Hikma   LP/MC/CD Quadrilab

Eddie Ladoire and Jérôme Alban combine the effects of old school synths and guitars here, with a recipe that sounds on paper that it simply will not fail to impress.

Early signs, as on the opener ‘Depth of the Prophecy’, are that their collaborative efforts should hold true to their word; as an amalgamation of thundering Dark Ambient holds a foundation for a wash of pads that fold amongst a wave of guitar drones and other FX. There is a touch of late 70’s DIY ethos to the song that is reminiscent of Cabaret Voltaire and the like, in the loosest sense of their capabilities; but evident, none-the-less.

‘Dhikr’ concentrates on a more simplistic format of layering drones and synth, in a manner that shows that less is more. The individual instrumentation is simplistic and would be ineffective on their own merit, but have been cleverly cemented together as a solid impenetrable stone wall of sound.

Whilst the guitar takes precedence on ‘Is a God to Live in a Dog?’ (in contrast the weakest track on the album; albeit decent), the closing number ‘Blessing and Worship to the Prophet of the Lovely Star’, capitalises of a rich and ghostly tapestry of synth styles that capture a cold landscape of reverberated drones and echoes; with haunting captivation and more of that embryotic Industrial aesthetic, that was witnessed earlier on.

Overall, this Bordeaux duo have created here, an album which stands them in good stead with regards to future output; and I for one will watch with great interest as to what they conjure up on future ventures.

9/10

MIDAIRCONDO: IV 2xLP Twin Seed Recordings

midaircondo

MIDAIRCONDO: IV   2xLP Twin Seed Recordings

An ultra limited edition hand made collectors box houses this double heavy vinyl release, from Gothenburg’s pioneering electronica duo; recorded in front of a live audience at Svenska in Sweden.

Utilising a variety of instrumentation from Bass Flute, Zither and Saxophone; the coupling of Lisa Nordström and Lisen Rylander Löve weave a captivating web of sultry and evocative vocal talents, into an oozing mass of slow electronics; that capitalises on the very best of inky-black Jazz aesthetics on opener ‘They Fall’.

In contrast, ‘Higher’ pulls on a looser dance orientation, reminiscent of ‘Ultra’-era Depeche mode; that is offset with the light drizzle effect of ‘Sun Upon You’ and the ambient hums of ‘Solitude’, before the return to the Jazz interlude of ‘Closer’.

From the bitcrushed beats of ‘Veins’, the machine head patters of ‘Apology’, to the Dub infused ‘Panther’; the ever evident vocal talents of Nordström and Rylander twist and turn upon themselves and are the glue that gel the album together as a whole. Think, the rabid children of Bat For Lashes and Björk, with the genetic interruption of Halou and you would be somewhere close, coupled with the production values of Burial for good measure.

‘IV’ is one of those albums that covers a plethora of sounds and measures them equally, to become their own individual melting pot of colliding genres. It’s that impressive that I actually feel aggrieved at receiving a promo CD; and will be dipping into my own purse to purchase this in it’s correct format.

9.5/10