Filed under: This Month's Favs | Tags: bluetech, Digitonal, Halogen, Helios, Hibernation, Kaya Project, Kilowatts & Vanek, Marconi Union, motionfield, Mystical Sun
Bluetech returns with his first new material since 2005. After splitting his musical expression into multiple aliases, Phoenix Rising marks his return to eclectic, ecstatic, and emotional electronic music, and exists as a precursor to an expansive album entitled the Divine Invasion coming early 2009 on Aleph Zero Records.
Music incubated in dreams, flows of energy from ancestral sources, the shape of the wind.
Grab one while they are here, as they are only available from this website and limited to 777 copies worldwide, soy inks on recycled paper, sewn and sealed in wax with incredible cover art by ray massin.
This is Helios’ fifth gorgeous release. In five years Keith’s style has evolved constantly, with his drifting piano compositions taking the Goldmund label and the Helios sound moving out from undreneath the clipped beat-heavy electronics of ‘Unomia’ and into a more unique place, even incorporating vocals on the ‘Ayres’ mini album. ‘Caesura’ however is his ‘proper’ follow-up to the acclaimed ‘Eingya’, and sees Keith return to the instrumental sound he knows so well. In fact in many ways ‘Caesura’ is a more electronic work than its predecessors, blending layer upon layer of synthesiser and adding his assured drumming to come up with the perfect meeting of indie-pop and ambient music. The haunting cinematic element is still present of course, but these songs are more rounded and confident than any in Keith’s career.
From the delicate bliss of ‘Hope Valley Hill’ which opens up the album with gauzy nostalgia and, as the title promised, hope, through the chunky pop of ‘Come With Nothings’ it is clear that Keith’s music is as arresting as it ever was. Taking cues from the lilting indie-electronics of Ulrich Schnauss and the unfussy ambience of Brian Eno, Keith manages to inject this with his knowledge as a composer. The epic harmonies of ‘Backlight’ for instance reveal a lightness of touch rarely heard in the genre with sweeping synthesized chords buzzing alongside Keith’s signature guitar.
Accompanied by more gorgeous artwork from Matthew Woodson, ‘Caesura’ is a glowing record for the winter months, and a glimmer of hope to keep the seasons at bay.
Following on the release of two outstanding recordings, ‘Walking Through’ and ‘Elixir’, Interchill is pleased to present the 3rd. Kaya Project album “…& So It Goes”. The collaborative project of Seb Taylor (Shakta, Digitalis, Hibernation, Angel Tears) and Natasha Chamberlain, Kaya Project once again weaves an uplifting and spellbinding journey to the furthest reaches of the planet.
Focused on more acoustic instrumentation than the previous Kaya Project albums, “…& So It Goes” is an exotic tapestry of slide guitar, klezmer, clarinet, classical Indian violin and Arabic mowals fused with tribal percussion, breakbeats and Gypsy jazz. Laced with Seb’s signature guitar work & Natasha’s keyboards, vocals and flute, the album also features a range of vocal contributions from the likes of Deeyah, Randolph Matthews, Irina Mikhailova, Florence Comment and others. Taking the unmistakable Kaya Project sound to new levels, Seb and Natasha artfully create a warm and timeless musical experience, leaving the listener plenty of delectable elements to savor.
To mark the launch of the Maternity website, we present the Halogen ‘Recycled Broadcast EP’, the first of a series of free download releases available from http://www.maternitymedia.co.uk.
Artists are asked to create tracks based around certain themes, concepts or production techniques, bundled into a neat package with exclusive artwork, short videos and other electronic trinkets.
Recycled Broadcasts EP explores human communication and weathered transmissions re-used in to alternate musical contexts, forging digital embers of layered voices from 1950’s commercials and static radio messages, staging a neo-narrative buried amongst melodic swells and rhythmic oscillations.
Halogen (aka Adam Janota-Bzowski) collaborated with artist Laura Gibson whose delicately scuffed illustrations of Victorian ornaments and abandoned equipment provide a perfect tailored visual unity with the music. Also recruited was the talent Camberwell Art’s College student Stephen Tyrell, providing a solemn geometric image of ice-cracked lines nestled between photographs taken by Adam’s niece, aged 3. The passages of texts found in the sleeve notes are segments of poorly translated un-solicited emails (known as SPAM) found in Adam’s inbox. Their verbally nonsensical attempts at selling Viagra have been recycled to mirror the slurs and stutters of voices found in the tracks of the EP underpinning its theme of salvaged communications.
Aleph Zero is proud to offer a new chilling treat from Hibernation, the new project of Seb Taylor, the master of Electronic music responsible for well known projects such as Angel Tears, Kaya Project, Shakta, Digitalis and more.
We asked Seb to go places he never went to before, and he came back with Some Things Never Change, Hibernation’s debut album. It is a mix of downtempo electronica touching many genres and styles. Seb mixes here Lounge, Glitch, IDM, Psychill, Breaks, Ambient and more, and the outcome is something special, a new sound. It is a more experimental sound, quirky glitchy warm downtempo electronic music. Expect Seb’s usual syncopated grooves and strong atmospherics with an additional unexpected edge. Chillout with a twist.
“Focus & Flow” is the second outing for the charming, albeit unlikely collaboration of James Watts and Peter Van Ewijk. Combining the unmatched brilliance of Kilowatts’ intricate and quirky electronic programming with the poignant, straight-forward vocals of Vanek, “Focus & Flow” manages to take the listener into a balmy and futuristic pop music soundscape where song composition and slick timing thread these fourteen inspiring and playful tracks together with purpose and maturity.
With the duo’s first effort, “RawQ” (2004), Vanek’s clean-cut vocals and folky lyrics seemed to clash with Watts’ intricate sound structures and high-tech electronic arrangements, and at times revealed some awkward moments. With this new jaunt the formula finally feels complete. While it is clearly evident which talents lay with whom, each of the elements presented here stand strong on their own merits and ultimately fuse together in marvelous harmony. While Peter’s lyrics, though soulful and fluid in their delivery, may seem a bit ordinary, Kilowatts’ complex electronic arrangements are nothing less than extraordinary. Here lies the true splendor of this release and perhaps the actual reference point of the “Focus” portion of the album’s title. Watts expertly wraps each note and beat perfectly tight around Vanek’s vocal flow, fusing every single aural ingredient into a tidy sinuous soup. No sound is wasted, no nuance lacks purpose, no beat is misplaced; it all comes together so naturally.
While the blatant accessibility of Vanek’s vocals may turn off some listeners who necessitate more grit to their music, those who find solace in warm electronica along the lines of Postal Service, Styrofoam, or even Apparat will certainly feel right at home with “Focus & Flow.”
Producer and instrumentalist Andy Dobson has been writing and performing music as Digitonal since the late 90s. It wasn’t until a chance meeting with Egyptian session violinist Samy Bishai in a basement studio in Tooting, however, that the outfit’s collision of cinematic atmosphere, AI-era-Warp electronica and classically-influenced beauty fully took shape. Acclaimed releases for Toytronic, Seed and Cactus Island records followed, along with the building of an excellent reputation for dynamic live shows with their expanded line up, including legendary ambient vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw and harpist Kat Arney (Shadow Orchestra, Chilled by Nature).
“There are aspects of Save Your Light For Darker Days that aspired to be a big symphony orchestra, kick-ass, film music kind of thing,” says Digitonal’s Andy Dobson. “We are called ‘cinematic’ a lot and there’s definitely a case for that, but having something that’s more intimate actually suits the vibe of a lot of the writing. It wouldn’t work if it was overblown.” In fact, Digitonal’s second album has more of a pared-down, chamber ensemble economy of sound. Yet at times its electronics, beats and instrumental lines sketch out some pretty wide-open spaces.
93 Years On features a strange and beautiful combination of Dobson’s clarinet and Kat Arney’s harp, and the guitar on After The First Death, played by Joe Shrewsbury from 65daysofstatic, is fed through delays, giving it a glinting, hall-of-mirrors effect. There are lots of elements moving beneath the surface of the mix, including synths, loops, crackling static and vocal chorales on Silver Poetry.
Dobson has been recording and playing live as Digitonal since 1997. A classically trained musician, former chorister in the National Youth Choir, soundtrack composer and DJ, his own music is informed by his eclectic tastes. “I was listening to minimalist composition and listening to Electronica, and thought all I really wanted to do, rather than listen to the Orb sample Steve Reich or the likes of Plaid taking off Satie, was make those connections explicit in my own music. And I always wanted to work with classical musicians.”
A talented session violinist, Bishai possessed both the requisite musical chops and the desire to explore similar musical avenues. His instrumental abilities had been honed by having had his “ass kicked” by his teachers at music school in Cairo. “They gave me a really hard time. They could wither you with a glance. They were proper ex-Communist, ex-Moscow Conservatoire people. Very good for the technique, though.”
“Samy is definitely unique amongst classical musicians I’ve come across in being able to improvise, but also to understand where a track is going immediately,” says Dobson. “It’s a fucked-up combination on both of our parts,” Bishai expands. “We both betray our classical roots, but then we have each developed different ways of working through our different musical experiences.”
Digitonal have played at the Big Chill festival, but although their music is melodic and seldom abrasive, would it really be right to slap a chill out label on it? “I certainly wouldn’t call us smooth and I would hope that we avoid the clichés that the chill out compilation industry thrives upon,” Dobson replies. “Frankly I’m not completely sure that the direction the chill out scene has gone in has much room for us anyway — I think we feel more at home in the artier side of electronic music”
Somnia is proud to present an album of delicate sensibilities, and subtle heart filled vistas. written as a dedication to his two daughters, Motionfield’s new album captures something wistful and nostalgic, like conversations from old friends overheard in dreams.
Reminiscent of Casino vs. Japan, Ulrich Schnauss, and Boards of Canada, this album still describes a unique and personal stroll through misty locales.
Fragments of a memory painted in fading light, places you recognize but cant place, a subtle embrace.
Limited to 777 copies worldwide, soy inks on recycled paper, sewn and sealed in wax with incredible cover art by Ray Massini
Marconi Union’s unique fusion of electronica, guitars and strings first came to people’s attention with the release of their highly acclaimed second album Distance (released on Brian Eno’s All saints Records) This album was a hailed in some quarters as “groundbreaking” and “an ambient classic” with it receiving a particularly strong reaction in the US where many of the tracks appeared on the soundtracks to various TV shows.
Following a series of lengthy contractual complications and having amicably parted ways with their previous record company, they decided to pursue a more independent path and are now releasing their third album A Lost Connection as a digital release on their own website http://www.marconiunion.com initial press reactions have been very exciting and it looks set to repeat the success of Distance.
The tracks on A Lost Connection like previous MU releases blend melody and atmosphere to create a haunting and evocative soundtrack to daily life. A number are likely to be appearing on various compilations in the near future and MU have already received some approaches for soundtrack work.
Recently Marconi Union created music for an installation at the Museum Of Contemporary Art in L.A. and are currently remixing a number of name artists.
Despite the low key nature of it’s release, it looks fairly certain that A Lost Connection is set to follow it’s predecessor as a landmark release.
The highly anticipated new album from Mystical Sun ‘Energy Mind Consciousness’ (EMC) is now with us. The new album delves deeply into textured sounds, atmospheres and lush soundscapes that are very notably the ‘Mystical Sun’ sound.
Escaping from standard genre classifications this album would fall broadly into downtempo, ambient and ‘chillout’ genres but even find it’s place in many micro genres as well as creating it’s own.
EMC – is easily an album that both pays homage to classic ambient and conceptual album fans and then still brings a whole new level of sound design to the table.
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