Diasiva are a band out of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who are producing a great interpretation of IDM that peaked in the 1990s. It’s amazing to think that this should be a nostalgic release, but this is fresh-sounding to me, especially since I haven’t heard this style of music regularly in nearly 20 years.
[Music] Robert Scott Thompson – Facture and Flow
It is very good to hear from our friend here at the blog, Robert Scott Thompson. This track, a free single, reminded be of a very subdued Harold Budd. Not fully ambient, but tranquil.
[Music] Xerxes The Dark – Final Crises
At least for my taste, there’s not much better than hearing extremely deep, cavernous, and at some points, scary, black ambient. No, not dark ambient. This is black and bleak. Morego Dimmer (Xerxes The Dark himself) composes a lot of top-quality material, but I feel like he’s begun to hit the peak of his powers. I can say without hesitation that Iran is the place to watch for this strain of electronic music.
[Music] Emma-Jean Thackray – Um Yang 음 양
Emma-Jane Thackray has quietly become the most important trumpet player to emerge from the London jazz scene in at least the past 10 years. Her sound melts the best of jazz fusion with electronic music of many shades. From her Bandcamp site:
Emma-Jean Thackray, an outstanding figure in the UK jazz scene, releases Um Yang, her long-dreamed project dedicated to the Taoist philosophy of duality and harmony. A highly ambitious and personal record that sees Thackray leading a septet featuring Soweto Kinch and Steam Down’s Wonky Logic, recorded straight to vinyl.
An accomplished trumpeter, beat-maker, singer, composer and DJ, Thackray draws on far wider influences than jazz. Her sound is distinctive; in the words of The Guardian like “Bitches Brew-era Miles entering the dub chamber with a New Orleans marching band – in a good way”. Since debuting in 2016, Thackray has directed the London Symphony Orchestra, performed at the NY Winter Jazz Fest, played Glastonbury five times in 2019 alone, and launched her own record label, Movementt (in association with Warp). Championed by Gilles Peterson, Theo Parrish and Jamie Cullum, Thackray has firmly cemented her place among a new wave of exciting young musicians, collaborating with Makaya McCraven, Junius Paul and Angel Bat Dawid, and still finds time to host her monthly radio show on Worldwide FM.
Raised in Yorkshire, Thackray inherited a grounding in Taoism from her father, and approaches her music with the same pursuit of harmony between Um & Yang (the Korean Ying & Yang), balancing melody and rhythm, groove and free improvisation, cerebral and physical. For this one-off recording, Thackray has applied this ideology in every sense, even down to the ensemble itself featuring not one but two percussionists. Um commences with ethereal interplay between keys, percussion, and Thackray’s trumpet, recalling the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane’s classic records. As the piece builds, an earthy groove emerges. On both trumpet and vocals, Thackray leads the ensemble further out until the piece peaks with an epic breakdown. On the flip, Yang starts on the same cacophonous note but progresses to a joyful groove before returning to a peaceful state again, balance restored.
When Night Dreamer Records invited Emma to record Um Yang straight-to-disc at Artone’s vintage recording studio in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Emma was excited by the idea of capturing this specific project in one-take, without overdubs or edits. “Recording in (Artone) was such a dream” Thackray recalls. “It had all the fantasy analogue equipment you daydream about one day being able to use. The desk looked like something Uhura would use. All the instruments were natural, woods and metals, no plastic in sight, and everything was to be hit or blown, all analogue. I really needed everything to be natural and real, because the music is about the universe, about the energy of all things, and what is more real than that.” Honest sound to match truly honest music. With Um Yang, Emma-Jean Thackray has created her most personal and defining work to date.https://ejthackray.bandcamp.com/album/um-yang
I have but one gripe. She needs to make those out-of-print vinyl records of hers in print at least digitally!
[Music] Various Artists – Meticulous Midgets Magazine 2020
Meticulous Midgets is a magazine out of Russia who did me one of the kindest honors by doing a sketch on the blog. I am delighted to return the favor by covering their survey on not only the Russian electronic, avant-garde, experimental and indie music, but a few tracks from the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Croatia, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well. This is a compilation whose broad scope equals that of my colleague Raffaele from Unexplained Sounds Group.
I expected to hear good headphone music, and I am happy to say that the comp delivers handsomely. There are three standout tracks for me:
The whole comp makes for solid listening, but just by hearing these three tracks, you can hear the depth and scope of the sort of music Meticulous Midgets covers. They have made a fan out of me.
[Music] NERATERRÆ – Scenes From The Sublime
Our friend Alessio Antoni of NERATERRÆ is visiting us for the third time, and he brings along some of the finest composers in dark ambient music to collaborate with.
Some of the participants in this album include Alphaxone, Dødsmaskin, Leila Abdul-Rauf, Mount Shrine, Phelios, Phragments, Shrine, Xerxes The Dark, George Zafiriadis from Martyria and Yann Hagimont from Cober Ord. The variance of sounds and textures on this release corresponds well with the different paintings which inspired Alessio to produce this album. Such painters as Zdzisław Beksiński, Ilya Repin, Salvador Dalí, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Francisco Goya among others.
There is a ghostly quality that comes with the genre on each track, but they have more of a viscous feeling to them. They sound, and in a sense, feel, more substantial than others I’ve been hearing recently. There is no shortage of incredible ambient music going around today, but Alessio and his partners continue to impress and surprise.
[Music] Johan Troch – Bring Out The Stars
Mellow Sunday listening for your pleasure.
Belgian guitarist Johan Troch has released an elegant new album which strides somewhere between a Steve Roach-influenced ambient style, a sublime and relaxed Bill Frisell, and a warm, loungy vibe.
I really enjoy how relaxed this album is. Go through this track by track. It’s sumptuous.
[Music] Azu Tiwaline – Draw Me A Silence Part. I
A very pleasant surprise came into my inbox today. From Azu Tiwaline’s Bandcamp site:
Azu Tiwaline : It’s a new name for a new spirit. The one of a producer willing to find a new sound in her origins which take root in the Sahara and El Djerid region in the south of Tunisia. A sound from the desert, drawing on berberian and saharan transe music that connects human beings with Nature.
Peculiar translations and spellings aside, this album managed to hold my attention the whole way through. Thanks to being better connected to the world, we are beginning to hear more and more musicians come out of Tunisia and the Maghreb who are of an astounding quality. This is 21st Century Berber Music mixes techno, dub, and native Saharan rhythms. Fourth World music, updated.
[Music] Lauri-Dag Tüür – Polar Night Jet
Lauri-Dag Tüür is a composer from Estonia, a country whom I have a deep love for and who have given presented two equally fine composers whom I admire (Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür).
Lauri-Dag’s work compares favorably to these legends, as Polar Night Jet reminds me of works by a more freeform Popol Vuh, Paul Schütze or Steve Roach, yet with an aura of a field recording about it. The percussion work is very engaging, so ambient it isn’t – it hooked me about 5 minutes into the release.
According to the composer, the three pieces should be perceived as one symphony. I concur. Everything flows together naturally. One of the best albums I’ve heard in a while.
[Music] Ataşehir – AVM
Ambient as a cool breeze meeting a calming shopping experience. Oxymoronic, I know, but humor me a bit.
This description fits this release from Ataşehir (an alias of the ever-wonderful project and friend to this blog, Sumatran Black). AVM in a Turkish acronym for alışveriş merkezi, which translates into supermarket or shopping mall, though I might be mistaken. There is a nearly vaporwave aesthetic to their music in this release. It’s ambient, of course, but spiced with a touch of 80s or 90s cheese, the sort you may have encountered wandering in a mall 30 or 40 years ago. Modern Muzak. The music of my youth spent in elevators, escalators and fast food courts. Very pleasant, indeed.