Archive for the ‘Ambient’ Category

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Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea [2010]

October 31, 2010

Post # 50. Brian Eno‘s Small Craft on a Milk Sea, released 11/2/2010.   I am featuring this album not because I find it all that amazing, but because it has powerfully affected me.  Therefore, use caution.  These songs have no intended story and your emotions will likely become the focal point as you experience the album.  When already feeling a bit down I gave this album my first listen and it made for a very melancholy evening.  Eno explains it all:

”The work in this collection is a result of an occasional collaboration between myself, Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins. The two of them are gifted young player/composers whose work, like mine, is intimately connected to the possibilities and freedoms of electronic music. Over the last few years we’ve worked together several times, enjoying exploring the huge new sonic territories now available to musicians. Mostly the pieces on this album resulted not from ‘composition’ in the classical sense, but from improvisation. The improvisations are not attempts to end up with a song, but rather with a landscape, a feeling of a place and perhaps the suggestion of an event. In a sense they deliberately lack ‘personality’: there is no singer, no narrator, no guide as to what you ought to be feeling. If these pieces had been used in films, the film would complete the picture. As they stand, they are the mirror-image of silent movies – sound-only movies.” —Brian Eno


source: dataless

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Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner [2010]

September 21, 2010

Post #47.  Gold Panda‘s debut LP Lucky Shiner. Gold Panda, a super humble guy named Derwin, spoke with me about music and other artists we like after his fantastic opening set for Health earlier this year.  When I asked if he’s been palling around with Mount Kimbie, James Blake, and Joy Orbison he laughed it off saying he’s not even a musician and is way out of their league.  I’m not sure he can be so humble after releasing Lucky Shiner, which displays incredible musicianship and easily puts him in the ranks of the top new British producers.

What’s great about this album is its balance between depth and immediacy.  Thoughtful melodic tracks flow seamlessly out of catchy “bangers” (sorry Derwin, they really do make my head bob).  Soft rhythms keep the melodic tracks flowing while elegant phrasing and structuring keep the jams from wearing out after a few listens.  Despite their previous release on the You EP, Derwin cleverly included You and Before We Met on Lucky Shiner in a way that only adds to the album’s cohesiveness; and rather than sounding recycled, they feel completely new in this context.

Stream the whole album here (also a free dl of Snow & Taxis) and buy it for only $8 here!

free downloads from pfork: Same Dream China and a non-Lucky Shiner track Quitters Raga and a Gold Panda remix of The Field‘s I Have the Moon, You Have the Internet

source: pfork, Derwin

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Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers [2010]

July 15, 2010

Post #43 (sorry it’s been a while).  Mount Kimbie‘s first LP, Crooks & Lovers. This album is set to be released on July 19, but is available to stream this week here at FACT.  I am so excited about this album that I am posting this after only one listen through!  Mount Kimbie creates a more drawn out ambient sound than either of their previous EPs but still keep their music within arms length of a rhythmic dubstep foundation.  Drowned in Sound‘s review put it well saying [begin paraphrase] that this album sounds as if it was written as a dance album but then was pared down to be a subtle and heady record.  Thus, it requires a careful and intelligent listen, and in my opinion a loud one on good speakers.  Rock on, Kimbie.

(sorry about the robot voice from Hotflush on Carbonated, but the track was too good to leave off and there’s no clean version.)

source: fbook mount kimbie fan page

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Clubroot – II: MMX [2010]

June 4, 2010

Post #40. Clubroot‘s second LP, II: MMX. Clubroot makes deep end dubstep with ambient elements similar to Burial, though a bit more true to the dubstep and grime genre.  This type of dubstep has been called “post rave,” as it is feels very contemplative and inward focused.  The heavy beats from last night bounce through your mind and the voices of past lovers echo and fade as you try to forget and remember at the same time.

I must have played the first two tracks of this album over 50 times in the last two weeks (see first 2 videos below).  Both tracks are woven together by a gorgeous flute line which is mostly unedited besides a trailing reverb.  The unprocessed sound of the flute distinguishes it from the rest of the music and every time it reenters the song it washes over the other sounds and pulls at my emotions.  The rest of the album is more typical low end ambient dubstep, with Clubroot‘s signature stuttering skitterng synths and chopped up vocals (see physicality video below).  The whole thing is tied together very well and I highly encourage a full and thoughtful listen with good headphones or nice speakers.

Listen to the whole album on this youtube playlist.

source: dataless

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Infinite Body – Carve Out the Face of My God

April 12, 2010

Post #33.  Infinite BodyCarve Out the Face of My God.  I can’t claim to know the exact way you should interpret this album, but I can share with you how I have interpreted it and how it affects me emotionally.  First, read the song titles.

1. Dive

2. A Fool Persists

3. What They Wanted to be Was Useless

4. Out to Where I Am

5. On Our Own to Fall Off

6. Beside me in the Dawn

7. Sunshine

8. Lived on it’s Knees (for Matt)

9. He Runs without Feet and Holds without Hands

10. Drive Dreams Away

11. Carve Out the Face of My God

I do not know if Kyle Parker, creator of Infinite Body, is a Christian or even if he believes in a Higher Power.  His song titles, however, are strongly evocative of Christian Theology and belief in a God who is all-powerful, all-present, and personal.  Some songs seem to be conveying grand ideas while others are reminiscent of church music with organs and strings.  This is, perhaps, Parker’s attempt to sculpt his understanding of God with music, and it may just be Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel of electronic music. (Another element that may be a stretch in interpretation is that each song seems incomplete and trails off or fades away, and if this were man’s attempt to describe an Infinite Being it would be appropriate to acknowledge his inability to do so completely).

Even without a Theological interpretation the music is powerful and can be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to slow down and let the music pass over and through them.  There are no obvious melodies, hooks, or drum beats, but this is well worth your time.  I hope you enjoy it.

and a live version of Sunshine

source: pfork

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Bear in Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth [2009]

March 3, 2010

Album post #28. Beast Rest Forth Mouth by Bear in HeavenBear in Heaven pulls off a dreamlike and haunting sound while keeping rock roots.  Occasional pitch warbling, cloudy synths, and theme repetition add the element of confusion we experience when dreaming.  Again I urge you to listen to this one the whole way through.  It won’t be nearly as good broken up, plus you’ll miss the surprising yet delightful reappearance of the album’s single Lovesick Teenagers in the closer Casual Goodbye.

Lovesick Teenagers, one of my favorite tracks of 2009, can be downloaded for free here. Here’s a Full youtube playlist of the album.  I wasn’t sure this album was going to stick with me, but after 4 months of listening I’m still very fond of it.  Enjoy!

source: dataless and pfork

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Ben Frost – By the Throat [2009]

February 15, 2010

Album post #26.  By the Throat by Ben Frost.  This one is for the dead of winter.  It’s very dark, very bleak, and frightening.  I imagine it as the soundtrack to a movie in which a man lost somewhere in the Northwest Territories wonders whether he will freeze to death or be torn apart by wolves.  [insertion – In fact, it’d be the perfect album to accompany a reading of London’s To Build a Fire.]  In spite or because of it’s haunting qualities, this album is incredibly beautiful.  There’s something about listening to it that arrests my focus and makes me observe detail in my surroundings.

I’ve embedded a player of the whole album below.  The second youtube video, Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes, was recorded for a podcast for Iceland radio and ended up being used on the album.

source: pfork