April brought us a wealth of excellent new sounds.
Things tended to trend on the “Cozy” side this past month – whether grounded in ambience, bedroom pop or some other genre – producers and musicians found themselves harnessing the pleasant rather than the problematic.
Without further delay, enjoy this months FRESH BATCH!
Raw and wandering post-industrial ambient techno from Information For The Blind (SeisMoGraph).
Cause Without Effect is a beefy 2-track project that certainly feels more like a full EP given the breadth of sonic exploration occurring within the 16-17 minutes of music.
The title track – nearly 10 minutes in length – bounces between dark ambience and experimental electronics with ease, guided by interesting vocals and vocoders. Structures and built up and deconstructed, chugging along to a dark and ominous end.
Meander Patterns offers a more unified vision, opting to solidify itself in a single atmosphere – rhythms and accents swirling around to provide steady progression.
Certainly an interesting listen that you may find yourself returning to. Stream it now on bandcamp or take advantage of the name-your-own-price download.
The recent EP, Flow State by Illinois based techno producer Zvrra brings us minimalist, driving techno that instantly puts us into the state of, well, flow promised.
The opener, the eponymous Flow State, is crisp, punchy and brittle in equal measure. We’re night-driving through a deserted strip-lighted tunnel in search of some warehouse rave that will never emerge.
Flow State II follows, taking things to an even more minimal place with subtly skittering beats and a menacing bass riff slowly-but-insistently driving us forwards.
Track 3, The Gift of Dexterity, sees a glimmer of albeit-still-quite-icy synths breaking cover over the sparse horizon. The track’s title hints at Zvrra’s ability to deftly introduce new elements to their compositions that keep us hooked whilst never breaking us out of the titular flow state we’re locked into.
This EP’s closer, The Curse of Dexterity, flips the tone of the first three pieces, introducing a harder, more submerged soundscape with a rapid bass kick and the future-kitsch chirruping of computer systems fluttering in the background.
Zvrra’s ability to keep techno fresh and exciting whilst staying true to its minimalist hypnotic essence makes their music an essential addition to your sonic world.
Somber atmospheric lo-fi from Tektra, brought to us by No Agreements as part of their Digital Series.
The tracks are tasteful and unique – claiming to have been produced entirely in one weekend, there is a cohesive energy that flows throughout the project. Despite touching all over the electronic music spectrum, Tektra manages to keep grip on the reins, taming the sounds to suit their needs.
Classic and satisfying dub-techno sounds from Docetism, brought to us by the amazing Nichts records of Poland. Walking is a 5-track EP with each track taking aim at a different angle of dub-techno sound. Perhaps you could call it a master-class in this genre, just because the style and essence is boiled down appropriately from track to track. Deep pulsing sub-bass, echoing and pulsing plucks, all wrapped up in lush crispy atmospherics. It’s a clever little collection of tracks, and will find a nice home in any collection…
Somewhere inbetween the tops of clouds and the beginning of the starry sky exists “Dream Mediations” – an album by Covolux released by Earthrid Records.
Beautiful ambient-drone compositions with a big emotional injection. Often such ethereal productions can lean in one direction or the other, being steeped in nostalgic melancholy or otherwise totally void of humanity opting for a more studious view – here in Dream Mediations I find a wonderful balance of the two.
With the bulk of the sounds being triumphant and compassionate, Covolux lulls the listener into a comfortable state – the perfect de-arming to swoop in and take control of our minds, steering us around the landscape and showing us personal highlights. Atmospheric turns into a too-good descriptor, as I found each composition instilling me with a sense of flight, as if I were in a waking dream – able to launch off and glide above my surroundings at any moment…
Overall the album is a very relaxing listen, and would be quite at home during a personal meditation session or calm rainy mornings. Blissful drones give way to more energy and movement in tracks such as “Acts of Kindness”, which fully embraces the orchestral instrumentation of the project and steers head-on into modern classical territory – while slightly out of place with the rest of the tracks, it’s turned into one of my favorites!
Lowless Records presents us with this lovely dub techno 4-track EP by Daniel[i]. Lush and vibrant while maintaining a nice relaxed atmosphere, Ileus is a hypnotically atmospheric project with satisfying depth.
Exploring different corners of deep techno and soundscape electronics, Daniel[i] builds off foundations of soft rhythmic elements, layered meticulously with luscious pads and synths sprinkled around. A wonderful balance of light and dark – that subtle melancholy vibe I adore so much.
Unfortunately the Vinyl has already sold out – but you can stream the release and purchase the digital version still via bandcamp!
The ever-delicious dronegaze ensemble of Nonconnah is back at it with a sleek 4-track project titled Transcription of Headstones. The EP in itself is a microcosm of the Nonconnah sound and aesthetic – perfectly packaging lo-fi melancholy mood that their songs so often dance within. Featuring a plethora of lush atmospherics paired and layered with sublime string noodling, the sounds draw the listener in, beckoning them to stick around a while…..
And if you’re like me, 4 tracks just isn’t enough – and thankfully it does not have to be! Nonconnah has a thick and delicious back catalog that is worthy of exploration and appreciation. Do have a poke through their bandcamp and support when you can!
The ever-intoxicating sounds of 36 are coming back to us on fresh waves – this time in the form of a so-called “mini-album” Wave Variations.
A collection of short flowing compositions – Wave Variations features 12 tracks (2 of which are exclusive to the vinyl release) presented as Sequences One to Twelve. Now that would typically seem like a full-length album, but I understand what the producer is going for when they dub it a mini-album. Each track floats around 3 minutes in length, which is a definite oddity in the world of ambient music. 36 explains…
‘I feel like a lot of ambient music (including my own) is often unnecessarily long and these small vignettes work as a nice counter to that. Don’t expect long build-ups or over-extended crescendos”
It may seem like a negative and/or blanketed statement, but it’s quite spot on. And in the case of this album, the brevity definitely plays to its advantage. I actually think this is a fantastic introduction of sorts to 36 in general, with each track highlighting different aspects of their signature sound – melodic and melancholy, expressive yet relaxing.
Wave Variations takes cues from it’s own name, with each track having pulsing hypnotic qualities. Tracks like “Eighth Sequence” masterfully coaxing the listener into a pensive state, floating in time for a brief reflective moment. The tempo and pacing of the noodling synthesizers and humming pads translate across the project, whether taking a more playful approach or sinking back into a numbing melancholy.
The album was originally released back in July by Past Inside The Present – and although the physical editions are currently sold out, we are lucky to have access to this digital edition. Support the artist directly via Bandcamp.
Texan Label Sunset Waves presents us with a beautiful and dynamic EP from Deep Shoq – Hypnosis. A lovely 6-track of diverse yet danceable tracks – pulling inspiration from unique corners of electronic music and swirling them together satisfyingly. Dipping its toes into psychedelic bass, future garage and fuzzy corners of retro club. Surface, the last track on the record, is one of my favorites – if only for the unique juxtaposition of nu-garage ambient atmosphere and fierce dancefloor kickdrum. You can stream it on the usual platforms or throw some support direct on Bandcamp. Nice summertime jams – give ’em a taste….