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Tuesday 6 May 2014

△ - Everyone wants the man who is still searching to have already reached his conclusions.
[Click on image for official △ website]

Country: Australia
Composer: Daniel Thompson
Released: May 2013
- Tracklist -
1. I wasn't listening, I watched the light that was reflecting off the water shine on to our faces
2. All the memories of the summer-were kept in a faded book at the bottom of my draw
3. The hot pavement hurt our feet so we dived in, Felt the Cold Water on our Skin, the Sun Shone off our Backs
4. The Summer Quickly Changed and we found ourselves again in the routine of Winter
5. I couldn't Stand-I couldn't Focus-Every Hair on my head stood up like a Ball of Needles-My whole body and the room was vibrating
6. Each Person was like a droplet of rain on a puddle of water. The image was vivid in our minds.
7. Everything Moved so slowly, your hair was weightless, I could see every detail on your body
8. We woke up in the very early morning, We didn't speak, just Fingers playing lightly on our skin 
9. I was Dreaming that in a theatre, on the screen my whole life played backwards
10. We Both knew the consequence at the time of making the decision
11. I took a bath, Held my Breath, Pulled my head down under the water and laughed
12. I hadn't slept for so long, I had too long been by myself
- Review -
With a band name like that and song titles reminiscent of Red Sparowes (this though may be overboard), you know this is going to be a good album. The complete obscurity of this project has driven to take a dive into the newest release.
And I've come out surprised at the level of professionalism within this work. It's the correct dosage of good Ambience, that balance of enough atmosphere but without choking the music (unless deliberately) and a sound production that gives all layers of sound a chance to be heard. This is not ground-breaking, but I really enjoyed this album for what it gives, it does so well. It can compare it easily to the amazing visualised soundscapes of Martin Stig Anderson (Limbo soundtrack) or the earthy yet chilling music of Northaunt. Daniel has been heavily influenced by urban landscapes in this case though.
Its a long album too, so the quantity of music here is more than enough to sate any appetite. But each piece has it's independent personality (some albums work well as a whole, some as individual songs) so it's possible to get a fulfilling experience without listening to the full album, which sometimes can be hard for artists to achieve.
This is a good album and I am a bit disappointed I didn't know of it before. I hope to share this with all you out there, it's not so often I get to review albums from my homeland.

Wastelanders - Cosmic Despair
[Click on image for official Wastelanders website]

Country - America
Composer - Dean Costello
Released - May 2013
- Tracklist -
1. The Beginning
2. Abstraction
3. Cosmic Despair
4. Expanding Mental Universe
5. The Crossing
- Review -
 Cosmic indeed. This is dark and ethereal.

Listening through the album, it doesn't seem ground-breaking, everything here is tried and tested techniques, but that doesn't mean it is a bad album. There is certainly that slight fuzzy, 'cosmic' (might as well call it that) atmosphere lingering within each song, not so much that it's choking, but the release doesn't sound hollow either.

For a debut this is solid, varied song lengths and some good experimentation (such as the hand-beaten drum & stick sound in 'The Crossing'). But I feel it could be that touch tighter, I find myself skipping into the songs a bit, each song takes quite a while to build up to a climax of some sort, this may be due to the mellower, slower pace that Ambience generically offers, but for the album to be completely outstanding, it can have more.... oomph, but without losing that mellow edge.

I'm not saying this is a bad album, it is a good listen. But it won't give you too much that you haven't heard already.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Compilation Album Now Released.

The compilation album has now been released through ETALABEL in a pay your own price format:

I am sorry for the lengthy delay, I am certain you understand I have a life beyond this blog. I will be putting up new reviews very soon.

Thankyou for waiting so patiently.

Friday 14 March 2014

Wegrzyn - Volksmusik
[Click on image for Official Wegryzn website]

Country - Poland
Composer - Lukasz Wegrzyn
Released - March 2014
- Tracklist -
1. The Orchid
2. Weather Report
3. Eleven Summers
- Review -
A new release from one of my favourite ambient labels, Etalabel, Volksmusik is the debut of Lukasz Wegrzyn. From a quick glance, it may seem like a small attempt at only three songs, but all pieces are above ten minutes (Eleven Summers being over twenty minutes in length) so it is still a fair sized album. The time on each piece is more than enough to send the listener onto a journey into Wegrzyn's world.
When listening through the album, it isn't all soft touch, at the end of 'The Orchard' harsh static finishes the piece off, and at the end of 'Weather Report' too, albeit a little deeper and less piercing. these songs don't flow into each other, and this completely offsets the mellow introductions to the songs (the piano within 'The Orchard' is just beautiful). My take in this is that each song represents a story, not just the entire album. Every one song represents an event, and when put together with others on an album, represents a life. the softer sections hold happier memories, and the harsher sections hold sadder, distressing memories. Life has ups and downs, compositional wise, this album has too.
This album is the story of a life, and Wegrzyn has decided to share it through music. He has only used piano for this music, and experimenting with the sounds on the piano has led to some interesting concepts. it's full of layers and as a result has a thick atmosphere. Lukasz is a wonderful, talented composer, and if Volksmusik is a taste of what to come, my ears eagerly await.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Support to Ukraine

You may or may not be aware, that tensions are rising in Ukraine. This worries me gravely as many innocent people could come to harm, all they want is the freedom of their country again. Two of these people I know personally, Oleg Shpudeiko (Heinali) and Sergiy Fjordsson (Moloch), I have reviewed albums of theirs in the past (and sure enough in the future) and both are appearing on the Compilation album I will be releasing (just hold on a couple of weeks).

I wish these two to keep safe, don't get into any trouble, and if anything goes too sour that the lives of them and their friends and family are threatened, to get out of the country as quick as possible.

I am sure if you are seeing this post, that I speak on behalf of you as well, Support these two in their struggling country, support everyone in Ukraine, as Russia is, as we speak, deciding aggressive action against those of Ukraine, all for a piece of land.

Keep safe, Oleg and Sergiy, my Ukrainian brothers. And to Ukraine, I hope all will be resolved peacefully.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

North Atlantic Drift - Monuments

[Click on image for official North Atlantic Drift website]
Country - Canada
Composers - Brad Deschamps & Mike Abercrombie
Released - March 2013

- Tracklist -
1. Passing Time
2. Monuments
3. Concrete Oceans
4. Sandlab
5. I Have Never Seen the Light
6. Scholars of Time Travel (part II)
7. Sun Dial

- Review -
North Atlantic Drift...
Rightly named after a large ocean current, this project simply takes you away. It completely submerses you in it's Northaunt-esque atmosphere. But unlike Northaunt, it's a heavier balance of defined beat and seamless soundscapes. Songs like Concrete Oceans and Scholars of Time Travel (part II) give the listeners a ambient/electric cafe-noir sound (as I like to describe it) in sections, which I've come to adore, especially in Concrete Oceans. The full on ambient sections such as Passing Time and the ominous Sandlab work especially well as breaking points for the album, like a 'calm down' between more involved songs, and as I said before, remind me of much of Northaunt.

The great thing about this subtle mix of music, is that it flows on in a perceivable way, once listening to the beat/soundscape structure of the first few songs, it sticks in your head, you can feel it, even through the complete ambient sections of the album, and it really helps give, basically an invisible, affect on the rest of the album. I'm not even close to calling any of these songs 'infectious' because it still sits deep within the ambient genre, but the extra beat involved in the music has certainly given it an unforgettable experience.

I don't usually single out certain songs when I write reviews, but I think for this album in particular, it certainly helps. and if you're wondering which song is my favorite, it's has to be Concrete Oceans, but alas this is an enjoyable album as a whole.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Black Polygons - Accalmie

[Click on image for official Black Polygons website]
Country - France
Composer - Cyril Rampal
Released - February 2013

- Tracklist -
1. In the Dead of Night
2. Whisper
3. Black Room
4. Amer
5. Ghost
6. Velvet
7. Accalmie
8. Burnt
9. Aphorisme
10. Ectoplasme
11. Brume
12. Denouement

- Review -
Black Polygons were once described as having some inspiration from Nine Inch Nails...
Whilst the industrial influence is definitely incorporated, never does Black Polygons sound as synthetic as NIN. No, this French electronica/ambient outfit seems much more similar to the likes of Desiderii Marginis and Polish projects like Virlyn and Bojanek. It's not complete seamless ambience, more of an ambient base, with a slow electronica influenced beat layered on top.

And it's dark... it does indeed have the grittiness that industrial genres supply. And it's deep as well, not only from a perceived atmospheric point of view, Electronica is often bass heavy, and the implementation of this in the music has given it a gut-twisting, low-end frequency. Black Polygons could easily fit within a full Dark Ambient playlist.