This release by Sshe Retina Stimulants is one of the most claustrophobic works I’ve heard in some time. This is noise, but done with a way that makes the experience almost magical. I had the feeling of falling down an endless rabbit hole a la Alice in Wonderland. It’s a harrowing release, and one of the most worthy noise releases I’ve heard in some time.
[Music] Ambient Fields – Ólafsfjörður
A hearty thanks to Geoff Gersh (Ambient Fields) for sending me an album of such spacious, head-filling music that I managed to unwind for the first time in a week. All the effects created in this work are done with a guitar, some effects and a pump organ. Taking inspiration from being in Ólafsfjörður, a small town in the north of Iceland, his location seeped deeply into these compositions. This was a treat to listen to.
[Music] Astral & Shit -XĤ
Though I’m not a big fan of bands who release new music almost daily, there are a handful whose work I enjoy in small doses. One of these is the Russian project Astral & Shit. Yes, I know, lovely name, but the music is soothing enough to let one drift into the Solaris Ocean when one is feeling a bit exhausted from the daily grind.
With well over 660 releases to their credit, I’m not about to become a completist, but it’s nice to know that there are artists who are putting out high-quantity/high-quality ambient music to keep my ears busy.
[Music] Midnight Radio – NOIR JAZZ
I never thought I’d review a Signora Ward release here, namely due to a prejudice I’ve developed against modern noise, as too many releases sound like some idiot kid flipping on the vacuum and then recording it, and THEN having the nerve to expect someone to pay for that garbage. Thankfully, I was wrong about this particular label. Perdonami, Signora!
This compilation is a teachable moment for me. Never, ever judge a record label by one or two releases, as every one of them have the capacity to surprise you with something utterly brilliant.
Thanks to groups like the Orchestra of Mirrored Reflections (friends of the blog whose works have been reviewed here in the past) and the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, I’ve begun to fall in love with the deep, creepy, noir-ish sounds they emanate. Signora Ward have done a service in collection some of the leading lights of the darkjazz genre together to make one of the most enjoyable collections I’ve heard in a while.
I’ll do well to pay more attention to this label in the future!
[Music] Jeton Hoxha – Vowel
I’m tempted to say that this release came from out of nowhere, but that simply wouldn’t be true. Once again, my good friend Raffaelle from Eighth Tower Records releases a bombshell of a release for those of you who are into drone, especially of the kind made by luminaries like Thomas Köner or the Cold Meat Industry roster.
Jeton is a Macedonian sound artist from Struga, Macedonia, who goes deep in for bleak, rumbling sounds which give you a good shaking, especially if you decide to download the FLAC file and hear it on great headphones.
[Music] Various Artists – Decay, Death and Darkness – Aural Visions Of Beksiński’s Art
Zdzisław Beksiński was a Polish multimedia artist whose utopian realist works stood in stark contrast to his rather jovial personal demeanor. He may have been an artists whose work could scare the hell out of you, but he was also quite a decent man who had a fondness for classical music, as well as some rock (his son, Tomasz, was a noted DJ who committed suicide in 1999).
Once again, the brilliant folks at Eighth Tower Records, a subgroup of Unexplained Sounds, have released a compilation whose subject inspired some of the most brutally dark ambient music artists active to come up with some bleak aural monstrosities.
[Music] black (w)hole – altered states
black (w)hole are an Austrian drone-psych band who are covering similar ground to Masaki Batoh’s legendary group Ghost. Don’t think that this is their only influence, however. One can hear shards of Blue Cheer, The Melvins, and other Japanese psych bands like High Rise and White Heaven. This is well-recorded, powerful, and drone-laden enough to let your mind melt for a few moments. Recommended.
[Music] Various Artists – ELECTROFRAMEWORK
Unexplained Sounds empresario Raffaele Pezzella is on a quest to make sure the best in experimental and electroacoustic music gets published. It seems like, week after week, he is releasing a compilation of stunning quality from a specified region, a broad retrospective, or his own delightfully noisy work as Sonologyst.
These tracks might melt your headphones a bit, but the sounds are, in their own way, blissful. Familiar names such as Sonologyst, Stefan Schmidt, Fahmi Mursyid and Thomas Grenzebach appear alongside a slew of new artists whose career trajectory will be interesting to follow.
Another masterpiece of a comp.
[Music] Ilir Lluka – An Étude In Two Variations
Albanian sound artist and composer Ilir Lluka is one of a new generation of experimental music composers carrying the torch passed along by his forebears like Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer. Each release has been outstanding, engaging listening for me, and this particular album is offered as a free download. It’s worth a few moments of your time.
[Music] Various Artists – Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese Music
When he’s not working on his own music as Sonologyst, Raffaele Pezzella of Unexplained Sounds captures a lot of attention by releasing travelogue compilations covering the best of experimental and dark ambient music from various countries and regions. This one may well be his crowning effort.
All of these, with the exception of Sharif Sehnaoui, are unfamiliar names, but the sounds, which range from slow, churning, rhythmic drone to post-Industrial noise, the compilation introduces what I’m hoping is an energetic crop of new music composers whose influence will spread quickly both inside and outside the Levant.
Could a Syrian or Iraqi electroacoustic scene be next? I surely hope so!