microphones in the trees: 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

pandelindio ~ spirits of valtellina




Spirits of Valtellina was recorded live at I’abbazia di S. Pietro, a romanesque abbey built in 1078 by the monks of Cluny, in Cosio Valtellino, province of Sondrio, Italy ~ novitic ind.

Despite the plentiness of acoustic instruments very well adapted or even specifically made for drone music, there are not so many artist in the world plying purely acoustic drone music.  Of course one can said that this is well known route and that it's much more interesting to build something upon drone – as it does New Age music, folk and actually almost any known music. With centuries (or thousands?) of development the presence of the drone has reduced  significantly, and, probably, only Indian music tradition preserved careful attitude to it. All sounds are emerging from drone. Like a primal ocean of energy, it contains the potency of any sound. Melody is just a fleeting splash, surface ripple, but it can reflect some of the inner processes inside of this unknowable continuum. Repetition of melodic phrases and game of overtones are as natural for the music, as a murmur for water. Drone is a stalk for the flowers to bloom... And it happens time after time on this album – as natural, as in a spring garden. At ease, as the wellspring goes through stones. Pandelindio magicians learn the organic way of things through music and bestow us their admiration, which we happily share!

watch video:

Monday, September 11, 2017

rhucle ~ raw


Without exaggeration, Tokyo-based sound magician Yuta Kudo aka Rhucle really flooded ambient scene with his music since last year, having tapes and discs released all around the world at labels like Oxtail, Constellation Tatsu, Adhesive Sounds, A Giant Fern, ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ, Beer On The Rug... One could only dream about such list of publishers, but it is actually well deserved attention if you ask me – there are many prolific ambient artists, even in Japan only (take Hakobune, Hatakeyama, Celer...), but Yuta developed its own sense for ambient vibe so quickly that we could speak about being just a medium here. It's always seems unearthly, when artist picks his style so carefully that you can recognize his tunes with the first minutes of playback. It seems like he simply mediates the frequencies of another dimension into our reality, and it's true with Rhucle. On the other hand, Yuta's music is very well rooted in nature, in bucolic recordings of water streams and birds voices, which are inseparable from his tunes. Mellow spheres of sound slowly echoing through those recordings remind me voice of wind in the electric wires, serenity of summer days, afternoon laziness and sparkles of the starlight falling with the dusk... And when I remember those days, I can't really say how many of them were in my life – it looks like infinity in my mind. One omnipresent moment. It's so unreal, yet I can feel any slightest sensation I had! So, I guess this is why it doesn't matter how many albums Rhucle has in its catalogue, how many summer days I spent alone with nature, how hot they were, how gentle was the whisper of the water... I can only wonder how such music can be done in Tokyo, which must be loudest place on Earth, but guess such wonder as this music gives to me can only be transcendent from inside. An it brings a lot more than I can express in a review, it comes with different story every time, so Rhucle can be viewed as an amazing cure from despair, from transience of our daily life, vanishing point of the mind, halfway between the memories and dreams.


 

a r c a d e ~ bilberries and mushrooms



Hypnotic whirl of grooves and hums, layered over the ground of weird echoes. Dance of electric impulses of mycorrhiza. Drops of water on the spider web. Moonlight reflections in the crystals hidden between leaves... I can go on like this forever while listening to this tape. It came a while ago, but every time I listened to it, the more hypnotizing it was. I know that term "psychedelic" can be attached to anything these days, so let's just say it's magical. And it truly is! Once you fall into these grooves and catch the vibe of those slightly unbalanced loops, it will spin in your deck for ages. Tuluum Shimmering  tropical canoe trip with Julia Bloop and Rod Hamilton, smiling to each other under the moonlight. High Wolf-y relaxing tunes to lazy Sunday mornings, Black Joker's game of never-ending loops which erase the difference between sounds which are actually there and imagined ones. And believe me, you'll be getting many of them even when tape stops. Maybe it's just a result of long-time addiction to weird cassette loop music, but a r c a d e definitely brings some tricks along with its seemingly simple compositions. The name behind is Nathan Stephenson and I strongly suggest to keep an eye on his output - "bilberries and mushrooms" is only a debut work!

listen ~ support
watch video:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

interview with guenter schlienz



Guenter Schlienz (Stuttgart, Germany) is known for his vast catalogue of tape & cdr releases on different great labels around the world – Sacred Phrases, SicSic, Goldtimers, Constellation Tatsu, etc. He is the man behind wonderful Cosmic Winnetou label, releasing all kinds of experimental/drone/ambient artists — maybe not as frequently as we'd like, but each time pleasing the taste of any tape music geek. Creating his minimalist compositions by means of d.i.y modular synths, tape loops and field recordings, Guenter achieves the serenity of classic ambient works, while keeping the vibe of 70s kosmische musik (think Cluster or Harmonia) and sometimes reaches the territories of academic minimalism, exploring the sound as ding an sich, inspiring the listener to invent its own narrative. Being part of Navel band since mid 90s, Guenter's place in music world has a long, but still almost unknown story which continues nowadays with further explorations of all kinds of ambient music.

~~~

Pied Paper: First of all, I'm curious about how it all started for you — ambient music, synth building, tape releases, etc. I know that you were involved in many other projects before, call you tell a bit about them too?

GS: phew, where did it all started… definitely many many moons ago. was active mid till end 90s in some heavy stoner psychedelic rock band. was the guy responsible for producing some "far out sounds" with his guitar and some delay pedal. so there already was this drone element in what i did. but far from recognizing it as this for myself. bit later during the same decade i did a session with a guy who did guitar and singing for another noise rock outfit. we just fiddled around with our guitars and with every pedal we could get our hands on. we recorded our very first session with some broken 4track and quite liked the results. after presenting the finished cdr people came back and reported "this is quite cool drone music". so yep, that's how we learned the name of this style. and after having the name we were able to dig deeper and learned names like Stars of the Lid, Flying Saucer Attack, Brian Eno etc pp. this guitar drone project of us is called Navel and we are still recording and doing live shows.

beginning of the 00's i quit doing this rock band stuff, so there was plenty time to do some other things. after getting introduced to all this amazing kraut and kosmische musik (during a navel live show in france by an english man, but that's another story) there was the idea to do some kind of electronic music solo. so i needed an instrument, and after bit of research i discovered that the schematics for some modular synthesizer would be something i could manage with the training in electronics i already had. so i started soldering, first quite simple filters, later more and more sophisticated modules.

the tapes, yep, fast forward to the end of last decade. stumbled over this tape scene thing by accident via the internet (god bless it). those days i was pretty frustrated and bored by the music all the labels and magazines i knew presented, so this occurred to me like a big relief. yes. so many people and projects and bands and labels are doing fantastic stuff, exactly the music i love, right at the moment, and sell it for very low money to people all around the world. yes! couldn't belief my eyes. that the favorite medium of all those labels and projects were cassettes don't really bothered me (of course i had this "ugh? on tape? strange…" moment like everybody else i guess), because i never really stopped using this media since my early childhood days.

I like to dramatize a bit some things some times, but this discovery of the tape label scene kind of saved my artistic live. it gave me so much energy and confirmation and countless hours of joy during listening sessions that i got the feeling that i have to give something back. hence i started my own tape label.


Pied Paper: Your music sounds almost academic sometimes, especially works as Organ Studies, Loop Studies and Furniture Sounds — which, as I understand is a homage to Eric Satie. But your name is strongly associated with "underground tape scene", as we call it. Did you ever thought about making your music open for the interpretations, to write it down on a paper maybe, letting the others perform it?

GS: huh, not sure if i my music sounds bit like academic music. for sure i'm quite interested in this genre, mean contemporary composers with "classical" musical education composing pieces for concert halls and operas and stuff. like their approach to their art through quite rigid concepts, their huge knowledge about musical structures and about music of many centuries and cultures. perhaps you see my enthusiasm for their rigidness shining through my stuff? that would be a compliment for sure, at least in my opinion. and of course, if there would be a small ensemble crazy enough to perform it, i would love to write a score for them (though not sure if i would like to conduct it). but i guess your name must be some lou reed or some other in the same league to be honored like this. actually i'm pretty sure that many of those academic contemporary composers would be happily release their stuff on tape if they would only know this special scene around it.


Pied Paper: It's clear that ambient music is a wide field for interpretation, same sound can be perceived in different ways depending on the artwork, liner notes, track titles, etc. Can you tell something about your own perception of your music? Does it have some stories within, or it's just abstract form which everyone can fill with its own meaning?

as you see in the answer of the last question i like some kind of concept around the music. and if this concept even gets its visual equal with the artwork i'm more than happy. so of course, there is a story in every piece. but hey, its music, its a form of art, so who am i to dictate what some listener and spectator wants to see in it? isn't it the very meaning of any art, that the consumer of it knits his very personal meaning to it?

actually i am not able to describe what i hear in my music anyway. for me the answer to this question would lead to some kind of poem, some painting, some huge novel, some dance or any other arty abstraction. in none of the mentioned techniques 'm very good at, so please, listen to the music.


Pied Paper: Imagine a situation when you someone asks you to create music with specific mood, theme, etc. — like for a movie scene or something — would it be easy for you? What you enjoy more - improvisation or composition?

already did this, i mean creating some music for a specific use (to earn some money), and hey, that is pretty hard work (and hard earned money)! to create some music without some customers needs to be satisfied, just the personal ones, isn't really easy to do as well, but much more gratifying for the soul. its an privilege to be able to do this, and i have a (pretty time consuming) bread and butter job to create the circumstances to fulfill it.

can't really separate those strategies during my performances, both live and during my recording sessions. its always a mixture of plan and being ready to include some coincidences respectively enlightenments. actually my believe is, gained through many observations and talks about such things, that nearly every work in which i am interested in is created this way.


Pied Paper: I know that you enjoy recording outdoor, do you have any specific set-up for this?

not really specific, the equipment just have to have some possibility to work battery driven. luckily my modulars fall into this category. just to improve the handling of such adventure i have build my modulars as small and compact as possible, and since a couple of months a work on some modules who will be included into some water proofed case.


Pied Paper: Probably you've noticed that releases of first wave of cassette drone/ambient in 2009-11 was mostly lo-fi and many of same artists still doing tapes nowadays came to much cleared and well-produced sound - is that natural growth or trying to be more "mainstream"?

yes, i'm aware of this development as well. i think it just was some other group of people with bit different background which had been running those labels you' mention. In those early days of the reemerging of this medium the leading actors had had mostly a background in the noise scene. hence the tape as favorite medium, hence the cheap and ugly aesthetics of the chosen instruments. these different (don't like to ad some other evaluative adjective) sounding tapes of lately are from people without this background, they just take over the torch and work with it out of their musical socialization. so in my opinion it is either "natural growth", this sounds like some kind of improvement who isn't any need for, nor a try to reach broader audiences. the good stuff of recently is produced by people who are just as true to their own style as their ancestors had been, and therefore it is as important and equal beautiful as the old stuff.


Pied Paper: As a label owner, can you tell how many demos you receive? Which kind of styles you receive most? I'm asking because it seems that ambient/psych/drone music isn't that popular anymore - I see tons of vaporwave/webpunk tapes at new-born labels, while such imprints as Stunned, Tranquility tapes, Goldtimers are long gone (or maybe it's just old man's talk, huh).

yes, and i'm very happy about it, i receive quite a lot of demos. always love to get some new sounds for my ears. mostly the artists are very good informed about the style of the music i usually release and about the aesthetics i'm interested in. perhaps you are right, there are less people out there which do their own style of ambient/psych/drone as perhaps eight years ago, but i'm not sure about that. and as i stated in the last paragraph i think those vaporwave labels and the like took the torch of the cassette celebration and run with it their own way. and this is a good thing. who needs the 16th or whatever version of the emeralds (insert here the name of your favorite release of those years)? isn't this exactly what have happened with pop and rock music and what makes this stuff sometimes unbearable to listen to?


Pied Paper: And what are your plans for the Cosmic Winnetou in the foreseeable future?

prepare my next batch right now which will be released in a couple of weeks. but after this 13th cosmic winnetou bundle of cassettes i will need a hiatus, unfortunately. i love to do the label work, but it is very time consuming. have lots of projects for this year, music and private stuff, so i have to pull the brakes to this project for this year. but really looking forward to restart the tape label with new ideas and energies end of this year.


Pied Paper: Do you ever think about future of music? Is it possible to invent something new, or we are doomed to retro-mania, returning to same tunes from different angles?

of course there will some day somebody release some music which haven't been heard before and will blow all of us completely into the void. don't know which day this will happen, but i'm pretty sure someday it will. just look around, not only the music is stuck into retro mode. clothing, hair style, performing arts, pictorial arts, industrial design, i think that in our days nearly every form of artefacts are done with quite old ideas, just a few new kind of tools here and there. the whole mood, you can call it "zeitgeist" if you like, is like "let's try to preserve what we have", not "perhaps this is a better idea for the future, let's work on it". in my opinion everything is linked together somehow, and we have this retro mania since the 90s, starting with this global change of the modus vivendi. but nothing is forever, so i'm sure this will change someday. these thoughts are just my 50cents about a very complex question. but yeah, i think about this, and love to exchange ideas about this kind of topic.


Pied Paper: Humans already sent some music with space probes - which titles would you choose for such mission? I know you won't choose Wagner, huh :)

really nice question, this is. indeed already thought about that, and i think the nasa did a quite good job with the "golden record" for the voyager mission. very good selection which shows how wonderfully diverse sounds humans are able to produce, and each and all of them aim at the listeners heart. but always wondered if it would be perhaps a good idea to send some field recordings of this strange planet into the void, and f so, which i would chose.

some people laughing, some people fighting, a mother singing her baby to sleep, the audience at a soccer game, a sundown at the shore of a calm sea with waves and cicades and everything? what else?


Pied Paper: Okay, that's it — you can send high fives here or add something if needed! Thank you!

hey, high five to you and many thanks for those questions! took my a while to type the answers, because you found some topics and ideas i love to share my thoughts on it. and of course many thanks for your support!

perhaps i would like to ad a big "thank you" to all the readers of those lines, time is precious and i'm happy that you waste it reading them. and a big "thank you" to all the people who listen to my music and perhaps even bought the cassettes and cds and vinyls with my music on it. to know that somebody out there cares about my music means a lot to me. hugs.


selected albums:


Sunday, July 16, 2017

anahita ~ tourmaline (three:four records, 2017)




"Out of the crystal clear and warm cosmic perennial waters comes forth another sparkling jewel from Anahita (Tara Burke (Fursaxa) and Helena Espvall (Espers). Two elves dancing amidst gnarled branches of ancient trees and fragrant herbs, concocting a magical potion for the mind of floating medieval cello spheres and melancholic ceremonial madrigals under the blinking eye of a pale moon and far off constellations of shooting stars." 
Bart De Paepe, founder of the belgian tape label Sloow Tapes

credits

released May 12, 2017, Anahita is Tara Burke and Helena Espvall. 

Recorded in the summer of 2010 and 2011 at the Hestian Den. 
Engineered by Derek Moench.  Mastered by Julien Grandjean at Jetlag

Monday, June 05, 2017

viviendo en la tierra de alicia bay laurel

Viviendo en la Tierra

“Celebraciones, avisos de tormenta, fórmulas, recetas, rumores y danzas campestres
recolectadas por Alicia Bay Laurel.”

Kachina Ediciones quiere editar por primera vez en castellano la guía clásica para la vida natural, bohemia y alternativa en el campo escrita por Alicia Bay Laurel en la comuna Wheeler Ranch en el norte de California a finales de los sesenta. La biblia del movimiento back-to-the-land y las comunas hippies de la década de los setenta que capturó el espíritu de toda una generación. 

Para esta edición en castellano, Kachina Ediciones ha puesto en marcha una campaña de financiación que finaliza este domingo 11 de junio, si la campaña finaliza con éxito, el libro estará a la venta el próximo mes de septiembre:


Viviendo en la Tierra es para aquellos que prefieren cortar leña para el fuego antes que trabajar en una oficina para pagar la factura de la compañía eléctrica. Un libro diseñado sin índices, sin capítulos, sin reglas ni estructuras, un libro que se construye sobre el aprendizaje del día a día.

Escrito e ilustrado a mano por Alicia Bay Laurel cuando esta tenía tan sólo 19 años, como si se tratara de un diario, originalmente fue concebido como una guía destinada exclusivamente a distribuirse internamente entre las comunas. El libro fue publicado por The Bookworks en Berkeley, California y se agotó inmediatamente. Random House lo reeditó en 1971 y vendió más de 350.000 copias en pocos meses convirtiéndose así en un New York Times Bestseller. Viviendo en la Tierra cambió radicalmente la forma de concebir un libro y con su estilo ha influido durante décadas a numerosos artistas y diseñadores.



Más allá de su utilidad como una guía DIY de artesanía, jardinería, construcción, remedios caseros y recetas, Viviendo en la Tierra documenta la vida en las utópicas comunas de finales de los sesenta. Traducido al japonés y al coreano -y ahora por primera vez al castellano-, en 2012 el libro fue elegido como uno de los 101 libros de cocina americanos más influyentes del siglo XX. Entre 2016 y 2017, fue expuesto en varios museos en retrospectivas sobre la cultura hippie.
Pero además, para muchas personas, Viviendo en la Tierra es una fuente de inspiración espiritual, ya que es un exponente del placer de la vida sin apenas dinero ni bienes materiales, viviendo en contacto con la naturaleza y protegiéndola, viviendo en armonía con los demás.




Alicia Bay Laurel (1949, Hollywood, California) creció en un ambiente intelectual estrechamente relacionado con las artes y políticamente activo. Tras cursar estudios de arte, con diecinueve años se trasladó a la comuna Wheeler Ranch donde comenzó a escribir e ilustrar Viviendo en la Tierra, libro que le dio fama y reconocimiento internacional. Además de escritora e ilustradora, Alicia es una cantautora y música de éxito y ha grabado siete discos desde 1970. Fue alumna del reconocido guitarrista John Fahey y en su carrera ha tocado géneros tan dispares como el psych folk, el blues, la canción protesta o la música Hawaiiana.

En 1973 en colaboración con Ramón Sender Barayon -hijo del escritor Ramón J. Sender y conocido activista del movimiento hippie de los 60- escribió e ilustró el libro Being The Sun, que más tarde se convirtió también en disco.
 
Se trasladó a Maui en 1974 y desde entonces ha ejercido numerosas profesiones, incluyendo entre otras muchas la de fotógrafa submarina, empresaria o profesora de primaria.

Coincidiendo con la edición revisada y actualizada de Viviendo en la Tierra en el año 2000, Alicia hizo una gran gira musical de promoción por Estados Unidos. Desde entonces Alicia vive entre Estados Unidos, Panamá, España y especialmente Japón, país en el que goza de un enorme reconocimiento y en el que continúa realizando numerosas actuaciones musicales y colaboraciones artísticas para libros, publicidad e incluso para diseño de moda. 




 
“Este puede ser perfectamente el mejor libro de este catálogo, es un libro para la gente; por eso, si eres una persona, es para ti; si eres un perro, sin embargo, y no sabes leer demasiado bien, también es para ti, porque tiene dibujos, Alicia, Alicia, Alicia, ella es nuestra Bradford Angier particular.”
--The Whole Earth Catalog, JD Smith, 1970.

"VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es toda una experiencia vital. Nos presenta toda la información principal del Whole Earth Catalog con la calidez y el sentimiento que una chica con un melódico y apasionado nombre como Alicia Bay Laurel puede poseer. Es como una carta interminable que Alicia te escribiera sólo y únicamente a ti."
--The Village Voice.



“Ver, tocar o acariciar VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es maravilloso. Sus dibujos y diseños irradian calidez, simplicidad y sinceridad. El libro en sí es un objeto que induce a la serenidad y a la buena voluntad. Su información es realmente útil para todo aquel que desee disfrutar de las cosas buenas de esta vida en cualquier parte del mundo."
--Raymond Mungo, The New York Times Book Review

“Quiero hacer todo lo que pone en este libro. Si no puedo hacer todo lo que pone en este libro, entonces quiero soñar sobre ello, porque yo sé que si lo hago, seré una mejor persona hasta la médula de mis huesos.”
--Shuntaro Tanikawa, poeta japonés

(fotos de la comuna Wheeler Ranch de Bob Fitch)

Friday, May 26, 2017

stag hare ~ starlights gloom


Farewell, Stag Hare!

«Starlights Gloom is an album about heaviness and lightness. Its made up of primarily sampled material from throughout the Stag Hare catalog. Its sort of a final farewell to the now decade long project, while being its own creature as well. I wanted it to be sort of feminine and tough, ethereal and grounding. It's maybe the last piece of art I have left to release that connects back to a specifically really hard time in my life. And so it was with mixed feelings that I was able to sit down with the tracks and finally finish them. By "really hard" I mean I didn't really think I was going to make it and I recorded the first versions of these tracks as a way to share a certain energy to my child as he grew up in case I wasn't around. I didn't want them to be sad, but I didn't want them to be overly optimistic either. After sitting on them for 2 years, and obviously still alive, thank Goddess, I decided I needed to finally finish these tracks and move on with my life. I used those initial sketches as a stepping off point and then just took the tracks where it felt like they wanted to go. The album isn't intended as any kind of profound statement, they are just tracks that sound good to me and I just finished them in a way that felt good. I didn't labor over them or think very deeply on them. In a way this was actually the most effortless Stag Hare album I have made, using mostly samples and short cuts to get the tracks where I wanted. And it felt fun, and it felt good. It's a bittersweet farewell to the whole Stag Hare project. I more or less have lived in the Stag Hare world for most of my adult life, and through it and the people it has been able to quietly reach I have stayed grounded and inspired. I love you all, and you all have helped keep me alive for the past ten years while I figured a lot of shit out. Still figuring that shit out, but I feel like I can finally step out of my Stag Hare safety womb and go try some other stuff.
~ Willow Skye-Biggs

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

azaleas / cloudsound / forest walker


«Long-form new-age collages. First full-length from Azaleas». ~ blank_tapes

Two years ago I had a pleasure to share a split tape with Azaleas (duo of Kyle Wade & Alice Andres-Wade hailing from Denver) on Rainbow Pyramid label and started waiting patiently for their full-length debut. Hope was not lost, and here it is, spinning in my deck on repeat mode since December! And with the first winds of the spring this music seems to unfold even broader, carrying eternal bliss of best ambient genre developments. Shimmering layers of synth soundscapes, massive drones, new-agey melodies and organic hum of field recordings... Everything in its place, all corners rounded, every transition made with care. This tape has rare ability to became more and more interesting with every spin, telling the same stories differently each time you listen to it. You may get lost in all those layers, fades and vibes, travelling between dark thickets and wide open eyes of lakes, but don't worry – the hiss of blank tape in the end will leave you under charms of these marvelous tunes with joyful smile on your face and pleasant feeling in the heart. Highest recommendations!



«Reverie over outer space air space tween canopy slopes of mauve ambrosial gazes to ribbonious unfurls later spooled» ~ fluere tapes

Less is more! I always admired the ability to create pleasant atmosphere with seemingly minimalist and truly lo-fi sound. What Fluere Tapes boss Lee Boyd did on this tape easily falls into category of lo-fi drone, but the less you care about labeling, the more you receive in impression value. Actually, this tape can be a marvelous post-rock or shoegaze epic, simply recorded hundred of times from one old dusty tape to another. Yet, it has this unexplainable charm that wraps you like a cozy blanket, carrying away as a good old magic flying carpet. Massive layers of sound are hidden behind the surface of pleasant sound - same as the incredible amount of water looks like beautiful cloud from the surface. As the the artwork itself, this music is fused by light, an enormous cosmic nebula sending its glorious radiance light years away... Also I must admit that this particular album brought a lot of nostalgic moments for me, remembering those early psych/drone tapes by Deep Magic or Sundrips, feeling the awe in presence of those energies, such pure and sincere, like they are directly radiating from the artist's heart. Maybe I'm just too sentimental, but there is nothing is this world like Cloudsound. Absolute bliss.



Sincerely – I have no words to describe this album. It's clear, that with such love for ambient music I possess, album like UV Sea would turn into breathtaking experience. Forest Walker puts everything in one canvas and manages to blend all treasures of ambient genre into a single whole thing. Thing in itself. Pulsation of synth lines, deepest drones, huge waves of reverberated noises... even dusty saturated beats do no harm to this never-ending stream of bliss, supporting its torrent thought your perception channels. Is that infinity of the Universe transcending by the aural medium or endlessness of sound, forging new universe inside ours – who knows? Depends on which interpretation of quantum mechanics you follow. One thing is clear here, this music exist in more than one dimension. It spans like endless wave and each track is just range of frequencies we able to perceive. It's easy to imagine UV Sea as short part of huge intergalactic transmission, captured by limited instruments of humankind and then interpreted by our even more limited sense organs. But the message is so powerful that we can get it if not consciously, but more subtly, just intuitively. And unable to verbally express... Yet, transmission continues, so tune in!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

guenter schlienz / alineko / lunar devotion




«"Night Music Bundle" is our new batch of gorgeous ambient & drone music received from great artists around the world! New full-length album by modular synth guru Guenter Schlientz, whose music we are proud to release; huge one-track work by Alineko, whose stellar drones we already had in catalogue; and, finally, long-awaited Lunar Devotion compilation album, featuring many different styles of ambient on one disc, all dedicated to the beauty of the Night! 

Bundle is available in collectors edition - hand-painted wooden box with many inserts, including mandala prints, postcards, moss & custom made star finder» ~ pantheophania

«Dedicated to the barely visible stars above your home town.» ~ guenter schlienz

In the gleam light of night streets we always see the same. City envelopes us, creating space inside itself, which is almost flat compared to the actual world around. Sometimes it seems that we live inside a dome of glass, like ones from sci-fi books about distant future in post-apocalyptic world. We don't look at the sky, unless it's raining, we are losing the feeling of vastness, of the universal endlessness, which surrounds our little tiny home planet. Cosmos doesn't fit in coordinate system produced by the rows of street lights. But still there are some dreamers, inspired by the blinking stars above the never sleeping towns, bringing the melodies of this elusive beauty, which hides between the city blocks, trembles over the rivers and dissipates in roars of the streets... This exquisite album by our favorite modular synth wizard Guenter Schlienz is a dreamlike journey over the routine of life, perfect companion for late night walks and leisurely stargazing.



«A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.» ~ wikipedia

Second full-length work by Alineko is an aural excursion to the ancient art of lucid dreaming, personal reflection of the interest in Yoga Nidra and modern dreaming techniques. Being minimalist drone piece only at first glance, «A Guide To Lucid Dreaming» reveals a truly mesmerizing deepness and variety during the listening, unfolding hidden, but always present possibilities of our mind. One may hear choir or orchestra, humming of the wind or murmuring water, distant voices, whale songs, etc. – but nothing of it is present here, only play of perception. This music can be anything: meditation session, simple relaxing background or a truly deep listening experience, depending on the one's mood and surrounding. 


various artists ~ lunar devotion (πάνθεον, 2017)

Nytt Land, Tmavy Kruh, SiJ, Чайник Болотных Богов, Med Gen, lost-radio, Ugasanie, Sunmoonstar, Gamardah Fungus, Nubiferous, Ongo Oruulaa

«Lunar Devotion» is a long-awaited successor of our «Solar Devotion» release made back in 2014. For this compilation we asked artists for their vision of the Moon and everything connected with it – seasons & cycles, religions & cults, dreams, fantasies, insomnia, cosmic landscapes... All of this can be found on this release, intertwined, slowly changing moods from light ambiences to deepest dark drones and back to purest silver light of our Mistress of the Night.

Monday, March 20, 2017

stag hare / crown of eternity




«Velvet and Bone is structured as a gothic fable. It is about the act of self reflection through knowing another. It is about seeing the shadow and knowing the shadow. It is about seeing death and knowing death. It is about bones, and the way they are shaped by the tensions put on them by various opposing muscles. It is about the swamps of depression. It is about love in its most tragic and therefore most beautiful form». ~ stag hare

Being a huge fan sometimes stops me from writing reviews – maybe it's just subconscious feeling that words can spoil the fragility of music, especially when the music is as personal as Stag Hare are. There are so many kinds of art, of sound, ways of expression, but not that many artists are interested in putting their true emotions into art. Looks like image and the presentation are more important than revealing the personal side  of life and it's understandable. But when the image contradicts to inner story it may say something about our ability to feel the difference. What I like about Stag Hare (and the whole Inner Islands roster, actually) is sincerity, openness, fearless sharing of life as it seen by the artist, reflecting everything in music, telling stories which at some level are universal for all human beings – we just go through them by our own patterns. So, here it spins, new tape with Stag Hare's songs and this time they're actually songs with lyrics printed on j-card! «Opening (Depression)» starts with deep drone tune and it's actually not so dark, as drone ambient can be, but it has this longing which fades in second track – slowly, but confidently building sparkling layers of blissful folk song and entering the same territories Stag Hare known for, but this time with the strong presence of the new kind of energy. Dreamer has awakened and discovered that real world is the challenge and was never separated from the dream. The inner and the outer are not that different categories, simply matter of viewpoint. These songs are still dreamy and so magical, they bloom like astral flowers from the deepness of psychedelic revelation, but at the same time the thickness of the physical is present, like never-ending drone – it simply stitches once separated into whole... Natural & urban, transcendence and routine, simply life as it is. Aspiration to non-duality is primal to every spiritual being, but the ability to separate things is not less important, it's actually the only way our mind can work, endlessly dividing and then synthesizing at new levels of understanding, just to separate again... Okay, think I went too far, so let's say it's just wonderful music for everything you want from it. «Velvet and Bone» can be just beautiful background for your daily activities as successfully, as the impetus for philosophizing (which is clear in my case), it chills and gives energy, it brings joy and contains many different moods at the same time. Music of high potential to unfold. Truly personal, but universal – you may learn something from it, consciously or not. In any case, you won't regret hearing it. 





«Dream Architecture contains the deep and complex harmonics of 11 gongs, as well as the sonorous tones of more than 60 bells, sound plates, sound triangles, tuned metals and singing bowls. Crown of Eternity carefully and patiently blend and orchestrate their instruments to create harmonic fields that invite the listener to dive in and not only explore the nature of the sound current, but also their inner landscape». inner islands

Some things change and some not. But it depends on the perspective, of course. Music of gongs, singing bowls and similar stuff was in the New Age genre since its inception. Of course it existed before, but not as music, but more as a spiritual practice. And this function of primal metal instruments vibrations resonating through your body remains unchanged – you'd rather hear such music at some yoga place, than in the concert club. Same private and personal feeling is present at this tape, as with Stag Hare release above. We are left alone with resonance, created with carefulness. It nurtures your senses, sets the right mood for relaxing contemplation, it gives landscape for your inner gazing... The experience of listening to such tape may be rewarding, but I guess it's nothing compared to Crown of Eternity live sets. The amount of gongs, plates, bowls and other metal resonators seen on photos has its own impression even without hearing the music! But if you had the chance to join such session at least once in your life, then you know what I mean. Here the point which turns spiritual practice into music – the act of recording. Same can be told about about any "sacred music" like tibetan monks' throat singing or orthodox chorals: when you are out of the moment of actual happening, when this is recorded or even just put into the studio or onto stage – it turns into completely different story. But this is really one big theme and it leads us away from music itself. Which is, by my humble opinion, can be always regarded as thing in itself without looking at its context and further analysis. Call me consumer, but some things need to be simply enjoyed. This tape is highly enjoyable even if my sound system is unable to produce same effect as live session with all those beautiful resonating stuff. But still, the sound resonates with my soul and think that's the most important here. Usually I listen recordings like this (Klaus Wiese, Danny Becher, Karma Moffet to name just a few) when I'm tired of any other music and it's always refreshing, kind of pleasant pause in the never-ending stream of music and always-present daily noise. Harmony & meditation, and nothing else here actually. What else do you need? 


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

check out ~ the book


«CHECK OUT is a project involving sound, images and words. It is divided into sections (chapters / tracks) and has three main granularities, i.e. excess, exposure, and death» ~ horschaft

This is simply gorgeous. No exaggerating, this is the first and second and third impression on this release. Even before hearing the music, holding this beautiful LP-sized book with matte-finished hardcover, full of atmospheric photographs and collected impressions makes my heart beating faster. Maybe just because I like photography and work in printing business, but I don't think it is the only reason. The book unfolds masterfully captured moments of fleeting beauty, seen in tiny details, in landscape, in urban and naturalistic, in simple movements and casual glances. And while the music starts its weaving, your attention is already caught by spells of this creation. It is really hard to make something outstanding in times of ambient music abundance, which we are facing now. Revival of physical formats paves new ways of representation of highly subjective artistic visions and it results in variety of forms – handmade editions, special inserts, quests for ordering, etc. But despite the common idea that music must speak for itself, it's actually a new level of music production – making not really a product, but an art object. Imagine yourself visiting art gallery: some pictures on the walls, subtle music playing... Your impression is fleeting, it depends on so many factors and lies under so much pressure of the modern life-style and its rhythm, that it dissipates as quickly, as the morning dew under the sun since you leave the gallery... Subjective means personal, and personal art it's always just a tiny window, a glance inside the world of the Other. The less objective you are trying to be, the bigger this window gets, expanding the ways of perceive and understand each other. Simple idea, but not that easy to follow when it comes to practice. But if you have the exhibition delivered right at your place, carefully prepared for revisiting its virtues, hiding some details for attentive exploration... Probably it gives much more freedom both for you and for the artist. Ability to explore deeper is a luxury in a modern world.

I won't divide the music and pictures of this edition, I'd rather tell that they are as inseparable as our five senses. Interconnection of impressions creates polarity, accumulates the impulse to discovery, and that's a very good approach in case of ambient music. It creates the deepness and instead of hearing just another melodic guitar ambience and dusty, melancholic soundscapes we plunge into the world of CHECK OUT without hesitation, exploring sensation of every tiny detail of mood, which appears only once – right now, right at this page, with this exact transition of the sounds. This album gives us an environment so fragile and sensitive to any change. It seems that CHECK OUT is about capturing the fleetness of our life, about unavoidable death of every beautiful thing...  But at some point of deepening inside it you may realize that this is happens all the time and that's what life is, a game of perception, of the novelty and excess, of discovery and forgetting... This album not just captures something, but brings the deeper level in the game.






Friday, March 03, 2017

electric sound bath


Sound form perception of moon found within in order to perceive its lunar gift vision of itself at a hearts arms magnetic pulse distance ~ fluere tapes

Latest release from Sweden cozy label Fluere Tapes follows the aesthetics of best ambient-drone outfits blossomed on tape scene in 2009-2011 – shimmering lo-fi soundscapes taken from guitars and synths, slowly evolving atmosphere, calming/meditative touch, feeling of something personal, as if played on private event for a few friends... Seems predictable at first glance, especially for one who's not that much into lengthy drone tapestries, but hides gorgeous moments of serenity and pure bliss for those who know how to listen. Nothing special, actually – get rid of any expectations, turn off analyzing parts of your mind, make yourself comfortable and simply enjoy the ride of slow waves of sound. Then every change of mood in music seems so natural to current time and space – something that was truly needed right-here-right-now but wasn't clear until the very moment of appearance. Expected and surprising at the same time – that's the magic of this tape. Quite often perception of music has certain competitive aspect, like you're testing the ability of musicians to surprise you, evaluating their skills, knowledge of technical side, etc.. And a lot of artists and listeners are good with that, even at ambient/drone scene... Yet, ambient music shouldn't be perceived such way, it's purpose and it's possibility stretches far more forward. Without getting too new-agey, I'd say that music like "Moon Drip" (which is actually a very fine example of non-centered sound continuum usually called ambient) is a wonderful mood changer – calming and transparent, gentle enveloping wave full of bright glares and distant echoes, yet dynamic enough and always changing, every time at any angle if you look close enough. Highly enjoyable background for evening chill and perfect companion for morning walk along the waterfront. And don't forget about the last track "Music For Train Stations", which spans over 40 minutes and suits its name very-very well. Now you know which tape you should take to the next train trip! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

eva geist ~ äquator system



«Dedicated to dreams, lost paradises, and new horizons of human belonging, Äquator System transcends a musical journey from a hidden center to an endless distance, reminding us that we are made of galaxies.» ~ eva geist

Exploring the vastness of modern retromania, I often ask myself one question – what if there is actually no such thing as "past" in music and maybe even no such thing as "music development"? Evolution of music usually means the technical side of its creation, hence almost all changes are simply consequences of new gear's features or simple invention of new terms for already existing things - as it was with Brian Eno "inventing" the ambient music. Of course, music history had some major shifts, but talking about them we can't avoid discussion of the gear (and by gear I mean any instrument) and methods to work with it, be it physical or digital, composition or performance, etc. Such things say more about form of music, but much less about it's essence. Maybe nostalgia always was a big part of this "essence", tuning the aural visions through personal experience. Some kind of universal feeling that connects our minds to the idea of some "golden era" in time and space coordinates. This can be expressed in many ways, but the very idea of creation of some sound continuum, which comforts its creator (and likely the audience) remains fundamental for music evolution.

Reading the liner notes for Elestial Sound tape release of this album brings the same perspective on the so-called "retro-ambient" scene. As Steve Roach recently said in the interview for Bandcamp, it never was about styles or fashion, it's all about space which music creates for the listener and the author himself, as reflection of his personal story line. I don't really know was the "Äquator System" taken from childhood memories about educational films and TV show soundtracks or not – what really matters is the timeline it contains inside itself. It's a story, enigmatic one. It brings so many colorful pictures, visions and narratives not necessarily associated with past, though it sounds really "retro". Actually, all differences between modern styles of music are based on the timbre, on the particular sound, and each timbre, especially when it comes to electronics, is already has its place on styles map. But the essence is avoided, it seems that we forget to look inside the sounds, to see beyond the surface. Because when we do it, whole universe unfolds before our inner gaze and it may be hard to navigate inside it, since we need to lose yourself to some degree, to step out of  our customary coordinate system. Anchors of style definitions or even mere labeling are good when (and where) they needed, but don't forget about sails! "Äquator System" is a playfully created soundworld, full of mesmerizing beauty, fun moments and dramatic shifts – so let yourself explore, it will be a great adventure.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

rod hamilton and tiffany seal ~ versatile ambience



Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal are an electronic music duo from Baltimore, MD. Their instrumental album, Versatile Ambience, was performed live to cassette. eshe records

When I enjoy something very much it seems hard to write about it just because I have some kind of fear – so many things to express, such intense feelings... Sometimes it feels like trying to embrace the sea waves. Thinking about this tape I tried to avoid comparisons, but it's impossible not to mention Tuluum Shimmering or Dream Safari or Black Joker or early High Wolf to describe the feeling this recording gives me. Being a huge fan of 2009-11 psych drone tape music, when everything was so lo-fi, psychedelic and sweet, I can't avoid nostalgia while listening to something like this. Blissful vibes of xylophone sound, calm ambiences, tape-hiss-infused loops and weird new-agey feeling of relaxation on the edge with psychedelic revelation... So deeply warm and embracing sound, that it's almost impossible to break the listening into parts – only pressing repeat button feels like right choice. Your trip will feature tropical islands, jungle & mighty rivers, warm deserts and calm oases, therapeutic relaxation sessions, third eye opening, flying with the bees over unearthly beautiful flowers... Okay, think you already get what to expect here! So don't hesitate and grab your piece of this charming exotic beauty. Absolutely recommended and highly gratifying sounds for your inner self.