Top 10 Albums For March

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Nottingham-based Tom Hill shifts course from his beat-driven electronica releases on Wichita Records to sculpt an eccentric album of classical guitar and organic environmental samples for the Expanding Records label. Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks opens with impending doom, as cinematic strings and spidery guitars emerge from a tunnel of noise, fading into estranged solo acoustic guitar refrains.

The following Noshi is just beautiful, as Hill plays out a delicate guitar track, with the microscopic creaking of chairs and strings deliberately heightened in the mix – it has a wonderfully natural, melancholy feel and the chords are gorgeously arranged. The album fluctuates between these states, classical guitar merged with spotlessly organic creaks and clicks, all intermittently manipulated, although it’s hard to always pinpoint where the line is drawn. There are some very bizarre tracks here too, like Dissect Ephemeral, where the components mentioned above are bewildering diced and spliced, then joined by strangely filtered computerised vocal mutterings. Bizarre but definitely good. Meanwhile, perhaps a career in soundtrack beckons for Hill, The Last of Its Leaves succeeds in building a climax of foreboding strings and plucked/picked guitars, and elsewhere the track Remnants demonstrates Hill’s qualities as a sound designer – a much slower combination of wooden instruments and electronics, where every key tone, guitar string and studio technique is available for intricate inspection. If there is a negative, it’s that too many tracks are similar in their characteristic; much of Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks wanders gracefully but retains a heavily fractured uniformity that can leave the listener a little detached – it’s also a little too slow in places. Still, there’s just about enough diversity here, the eerie Unknown In The Walls is a true ghost story of an effort, its spindly guitars wriggling like evil worms over a threatening, slow building cascade of sound – if they remake The Shining this should be first in the soundtrack queue. One thing’s for sure, if you fancy something a bit different then the Expanding label has come up trumps yet again.
www.origamibiro.com

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Very much a talent on the ascendence, Dag Rosenqvist returns with a swift follow-up to last year’s Closet Ghosts EP, and the full-length on Miasmah, Black Sleep. While those two releases marked out career highpoints for Rosenqviist, Singing Stones finds him continuing on his upward trajectory, serving up a truly beautiful – not to mention accessible – collection of cinematic electronic compositions. You won’t hear many artists who are this adept when it comes to wringing emotion from their laptops, and introductory track ‘Stillness’ provides an instantly breathtaking blend of lyrical digital timbres and immersive field recordings; you’ll hear footsteps trudging across muddy ground and far off bells pealing out in the distance – it’s lovely stuff. Next comes the exquisitely subtle ‘This Barren Land’, an electroacoustic drone piece that doesn’t initially seem to be doing anything that’s especially out of the ordinary, but the subtlety and depth of the piece ensures it worms its way into your heart. Now the tone is set, Rosenqvist opens up with some melodic developments, bringing delicate tuned percussion and filtered guitar progressions to ‘They’ve Flown Away And Left Us Here’, while ‘Last Boat In’ brings together fluttering vibraphone melodies and crashing waves on a beach. The set-adrift feel persists throughout, as cued by titles like ‘A Box Of Wood In The Storm’, ‘Into The Sea’ and ‘Sleeping Rivers’, the latter of which cultivates an Oren Ambarchi-like low-end drone, while flickers of hiss bombard slow-swelling chords. Singing Stones is an exceptional album, artfully constructed and sequenced in a way that preserves its enigmatic feel, continually shifting between coy tunefulness and glorious abstraction. Superb.
www.myspace.com/jaspertx

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Offthesky is Jason Corder from Kentucky, USA. You have probably already heard of him as he is one of the most talented and prolific composers on the entire netaudio scene.
He has been releasing music via some of the most interesting labels and netlabels around, always refining his own personal voice in the world of diverse electronic music.
As he personally reports on his website, the creative process behind his work is very particular:
“Each album concept surrounds the use of chaos theory and weather patterns to drive the movement, texture, timbres, tone, and dynamic of each recorded instrument (actually, temperature records and collated barometric pressure pattern data as well as fractal mathematics have been mined and interpolated to drive reaktor(vst) or max/msp dsp lfo/parameters).
The methods for creating an album are usually as evolved and random as the sky patterns they are inspired from.
Yet an axiom of offthesky is to keep each album conceptually based upon a theme.”
His brand new EP on Zymogen, Dwelling Spells, doesn’t break these rules; composed around a specific concept, it evolves from the idea of an old lonely abandoned house that is full of growing things and subtle new organic life, as depicted on the cover which was taken by italian photographer Fulvio Romiti.
The music is evocative yet nostalgic of something past (a place, a room, an atmosphere…) which doesn’t exist anymore, yet has become more poetic and fascinating than the untouched state.
www.offthesky.com

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Returning for a sixth album after a decade of recording, Mark Nelson resumes duties as Pan American, once again employing a very human brand of minimalism to his craft, establishing an evocative and exquisitely sombre electroacoustic sound, fabricated from strands of guitar, electronics and all manner of subtle nuances that pepper the background with that distinctive… Pan American-ness that made the likes of Quiet City so utterly bewitching. The irregular tremolo and whispered vocal of opening piece ‘There Can Be No Thought Of Finishing’ provides an early highlight and a sense of sonic bliss that’s all too quickly shattered, giving way to layers of noisy tones and clattering drums, only to give way to the weightless gestures of ‘For Aiming To The Stars’, a fine drift-scape buoyed onwards by intermittent root notes played by bass while the pitter-pat of cymbals keeps time. Although less organised, ‘Is A Problem To Occupy Generations’ manages to weave something beautiful from what seems to be a few wafts of amplifier hiss, giving way to the contrapuntally pristine blues of ‘So That No Matter’. Offering an entirely different prospect,’How Much Progress One Makes’ sounds like a surreal exchange between Massive Attack, Burial and Philip Jeck, producing one of the album’s most compellingly rhythmic and most arrestingly atmospheric moments. Pan American albums seem to be painfully few and far between, but when one does eventually make it out of the studio the result is something very special indeed.
www.kranky.net

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‘A majestic debut album. Achingly beautiful!’
– Rock Sound
‘Iceland’s best new export comes in the shape of Eulogy For Evolution!’ – Clash
‘With this impressive first album, Ólafur Arnalds is sure to gain a well deserved place amongst the new generation of classical composers that have been emerging in recent years. Eulogy For Evolution is a truly accomplished work which shows not only a good understanding of contemporary music forms, but also a great musical maturity.’ (4.6/5) Top 17 Album Of The Year – The Milk Factory
‘An auspicious debut from a promising young talent.’ – Drowned In Sound
‘A series of orchestral movements that pull the heartstrings like a marionette.’ (8/10) Top 12 Album Of The Year – The Silent Ballet
‘I had this for diner!’ – Guardian
‘Slow moving melodies that ache with meaning, forcing themselves in and out of focus. Sublime!’ – Chiller Cabinet / Chill Radio
‘Arnald’s work is brave, unique and defiantly outré. True to its name, Eulogy for Evolution is enough to send creationists running to Darwin.’ (9/10) – CD Times
‘One of the most intelligent, well-crafted and utterly beautiful records of the year.’
– In It For The Money Zine
‘If you thought Sigur Rós had the patent on hauntingly beautiful and meticulously compelling music coming out of Iceland, then Ólafur Arnalds is here to educate you otherwise.’
– UK Music Search
‘Gentle, epic, beautiful, visceral, masterful and utterly essential. Juxtapositions fully intended.’ (5/5) – Is This Music?
‘Ólafur Arnalds is definitely going places on the strength of this album.’ – Oban FM (Scotland)
‘Arnalds’ highly cinematic approach has that same instantly digestible quality that Johannsson, and for that matter Max Richter, are able to tap into. Gorgeous!’ – Boomkat Records
‘His debut full-length isn’t just a eulogy for one man, it’s the eulogy for all mankind.’ Record of the Week – Radio K, Minneapolis (US)
‘One of my favourites this year!’
– Radio 100 (NL)
Top 9 Album Of The Year
– Caleidoscoop (NL)
Album of the week – Urban Desire (GER)
www.myspace.com/olafurarnalds

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Tisza meets Dunav is the new album by Sasa Vojvodic, also known as Letna, a producer based in Paris and born in Serbia, ex Yugoslavia. With Alexandre Navarro he coordinates Sem label and the brand new Iod netlabel, the union between Eko and Standardklik. Letna already collaborated with Zymogen in the Sky Diary Edits project and we’re very happy to start 2008 with his brand new album.
Tisza meets Dunav is a concept work inspired by Sasa’s native country, Serbia. Every song is dedicated to a specific place in the area of the Tisza, which falls into Dunav, the Danube, one of the biggest rivers in Eastern Europe.
Nature elements inspired most of the album: Deliblatska Pescara is the largest sandy terrain in Europe once part of a vast prehistoric desert, Fruska Gora is a beautiful mountain, while Ledinci and Jezera are two lakes located in Serbia. The musical narrative of this album develops slowly through different sound layers: pure and delicate melodies, distant voices, guitar notes, drones, microtonal sound-waves and field recordings.
The evocative power of Letna’s music reaches high levels exemplified by the intense momentum of ‘White City’, a song dedicated to Belgrade. The emotive atmosphere of songs like ‘Deliblatska Pescara’ and ‘Crossing the Bridge (Novisad)’ is present throughout the album. Field recordings feature in every song which guide the listener into a continuum of perfectly designed soundscapes. Tisza meets Dunav is a progession of Letna’s musical research which helps us understand his poetry and the deep meanings hidden behind his abstract creations.
www.myspace.com/letna

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The material collected for Snowflakes and Carwrecks was recorded during the same sessions that produced last year’s Ferndorf album, Volker Bertelmann’s impressive second LP for Fat Cat’s 130701 offshoot. Although billed as an EP, the CD’s seven tracks clock up a forty-minute playtime (NB: the vinyl edition is restricted to five) and the track sequence makes for a rather wonderful album in its own right. As was the case with Ferndorf, the music here extends far beyond the solo prepared piano excursions of Hauschka’s older material, embracing broader arrangements augmented by light electronics and a string duo. These additional musicians play a big part in establishing the understated wintry romance of ‘Eisblume’ and bringing to life a piece like ‘Tanz’, which is driven by choppy, Philip Glass-like interlocking cello and violin, making panicked exchanges with Bertelmann’s very physical and staccato piano performance. The longest composition on Snowflakes and Carwrecks, ‘Hauberg’, finds the Hauschka sound taking on yet grander proportions, beginning with fluid minor key broodings and slowly accumulating an air of tension as it traverses an involving nine-minute span. Another step up on Hauschka’s evolutionary ladder, this release is a must for anyone who got to know and love Ferndorf, and it’s sure to find favour with followers of Max Richter, Johann Johannsson and the like. Highly recommended.
www.hauschka-net.de

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The two boys made it again. After a few travels Sweden-France and vice-versa, Solar Fields and AES Dana cooked up 10 immersive tunes infused with oniric trip-hop, ambient geometries and morning trance. The album is planned for an early March release.
[ Ephemeris ] is a deep sonic ground swell, an album of contrasts, 10 tracks structured upon subterranean bass lines, transversal and luminous pads, crisp, crunchy beats. A mesmerizing ensemble of fresh atmospheres and intense, forward driving melodies.
The inspiration for the album title comes from the artists Vincent Villuis and Magnus Birgersson’s collaboration process, determined by the patterns of encounter in time and space, the alignment of creative moods and coordination of life’s innate forces.
www.ultimae.com

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“At the end of the 2003 was a turning point of David Crovetto’s life a.k.a Playb: he decided to transmit his message through the versatility of music produced by electronic means. Despite his hazy knowledge about synthesizers and samplers he had some previous knowledge about composition and popular music instruments.
David began playing guitar about 10 years old (he defines himself as an self-taught guy when it comes to playing instruments), later about 13 year old, he played in bands which made possible the learning of bass guitar, keyboards and drums performing covers mostly but as well creating original songs. After finishing high school though he moved away from playing in bands after getting into University to study Engineering in sound.
As time went he has been developing a very peculiar sound, exploring its organic aspects, developing ways of composition and arrangements considering himself an experimental producer.
Playb’s music is known for its cinematic atmosphere along with emotional yet chill melodies, he experiments mostly with “downtempo-based” styles trying to keep a delicate balance between melodic dominant and groove based music.
His latest release is titled “Alongside Pictures In Motion” -self release and first full length album-, Alongside Pictures In Motion is available from all iTunes stores and Amazonmp3.”
www.playb.co.uk

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“One of the most highly anticipated albums of the year…Where Edges Meet is a truly pioneering composition that raises the standards of electroacoustic production and sees James Murray leading the way in futuristic sounds”. 10/10
-Fluid Radio
James Murray is a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who layers organic and electronic elements to achieve uniquely emotive productions. His passion is for subtlety, ambiguity and that blurry interface between the ‘natural’ and the ‘synthesised’.
Debut album “Where Edges Meet” subtly evokes the rumble and clatter of London’s industrial wastelands, leading us to its secret gardens and wide parks with crystalline, haunting melodies.
As a gifted multi-instrumentalist James has intelligently merged the organic and synthetic realms into delicate and daring soundscapes – all vividly evocative of sense and space.
Where Edges Meet is an intimate and ambiguous album, a wistful playground for broken breakbeats, jazz inflections, sideways dub and avant-garde electronica.
9 colourful tracks to delight your ears and challenge your mind.
www.jamesmurray.info

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[…] with increasing anticipation. He scanned the hundred faces coming out of the airport for his son Top 10 Albums For March – fluidblog.wordpress.com 03/02/2009 Nottingham-based Tom Hill shifts course from his beat-driven […]

Pingback by TranceUtopia » Blog Archive » Posts about Trance news as of March 2, 2009

Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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