UK Microlabel HIRU presents this ambient drone ep from producer Wóma.
Three Drones is quite a utilitarian title for this release – opting for a no-nonsense approach to dark ambient and drone stretched across 3 longform tracks.
Created using an instrument that’s just as much a Sculpture as a musical device, Wóma shreds and scrapes across the bleak landscape. The sounds fold into each other, welding the harsh metallic edges with bold and bombastic low-horns for a bizarre, neo primitive feeling. There is an ancient and cavernous essence to the entire project that is only enhanced by the improvisational techniques applied.
Perfect addition to your Dungeons and Dragons playlist and whip it out the next time your player group is diving deep under Baulder’s Gate in search of treasure! Additionally great for moody mornings, rainy days or moments of introspection.
Brought to us by German label Strategic Tape Reserves is this long playing industrial noise album Chill Noise by Viennese artist Phirnis.
Chill Noise, for the titles, is surprisingly full of energy, exploration and movement. Not to say it isn’t relaxing, of course – but if you’re looking for a collection of melodic field recordings you can keep on walking! This album is a wonderful study of industrial ambience – combining harsh tones with gentle atmospherics for a dense and intriguing journey.
The first few tracks are quite grounded in their noisy mystique, remaining quite free-flowing and spatial. Upon reaching the middle of the album we are greeted with an intense underground techno track thanks to the distorted kickdrum flying in! It’s a welcome way to break up the quite ethereal structure of the songs.
Harsh Noise fans will rejoice (or perhaps they won’t?) at the pure listenability of Phirnis‘ sounds. Somehow these tortured, shredded and FM distorted tones are perfectly layered and mixed in the least obtrusive way possible. Taking into consideration the actual sounds heard, this might possibly be the most digestible and easy-on-the-ears harsh noise album I have ever heard.
Between the robust textures and the intense soundscape construction there’s no shortage of fascinating sounds within. Chill Noise deserves a home in your collection – consider picking up a cassette tape to support (only a few are left when we wrote this, so move your butts!) or stream/download the digital edition via bandcamp.
Intriguing and satisfying lofi noise tapes by Directives, released by Colorado-based label Aubjects.
Protenomaly is a fascinating, psychedelic project – knit together from eclectic plunderphonics and harsh, washed-out guitars. The depth of audio exploration displayed here is breathtaking – with truly intense and complex compositions gracing both sides of the cassette.
As the sounds pass by – the listener is exposed to very unique and visceral samples, structured and presented in a way that guarantees a connection or reaction. There’s thick tape nostalgia in everything from the soaked tone of the mix to bouncing ribboning of guitar experimentation.
Passive percussion accompanies most of the pieces on Side A, though it’s role in the compositions is less about tempo and more about grounding the sound. Pitter-patters of miscellaneous hand drum elements are scattered here and there, offering a pleasant juxtaposition to the rest of the production.
Side B begins with some truly avant-garde plunderphonic arrangement – with aliens gathering together with distorted angels to deliver stuttered spoken word while taking the worlds longest celestial bong hit. The project continues to revel in its experimental and exploratory glory for the remainder of the playtime, indulging in fragmented guitar riffs + noodling as well as delving even deeper into the dark atmospheric ambience presented on Side A.
Protenomaly can be considered a multisensory aesthetic experience – being divided over 3 mediums. First being obviously the audio portion of the project, which can be purchased or streamed via Aubjectsbandcamp page. Secondly there is a limited run of 66 handmade cassette tapes, each with a unique handmade presentation. Third and certainly not least is the visual portion which manifests as a full video interpretation of Side B.
Haunting beauty and academic-level ambience finds us in this most unique release from Mollbury Medical Research Centre titled The D7 Project.
Shrouded in a thin layer of mystique – The D7 Project is an avant-garde album that draws inspiration from many different subgenres, swirling them together into something interesting and new. Layer upon layer of intriguing sound is laid down in the foundation, paired with dissonant wisps of digital wind and a cart of medical tools being casually unloaded.
For the level of sonic experimentation going on here – the album is quite easy to listen to. Pulsing bass and strategically placed tidbits fuse to create this unique atmosphere. This haunted musique concrète soup dominated the compositions in the best way possible.
The D7 Project – though slightly dark and off kilter – manages to be quite relaxing and peaceful for the first half. By the time the listener reaches Brain Activity it’s a different story altogether. The listeners, or patients perhaps, have clearly already gone through the necessary procedures before this mad brain surgery. The album finishes off with a brilliant yet strange modern classical number with big Twin Peaks feelings laced into the synthetic strings, only deepening the sense of discomfort and intrigue.
For fans of experimental ambient, or for anyone who just need a replacement soundtrack for their next Silent Hill playthrough. After this very powerful and brooding debut, I am very excited to see what the future holds for the Mollbury Medical Research Centre. Stream the album yourself or pick up the digital edition from Bandcamp today.
Cartoon Forest II is the second full-length project from experimental trio Cartoon Forest – released on Crash Symbols in May, 2022.
Recorded live in 2018 – the tape basks in a raw beauty that is both refreshing and intriguing. Cartoon Forest II is a wonderful blend of experimental ambience and psychedelic drone with a touch of post-rock. It’s quite easy to become lost in the hazy, distorted soundscapes – laying back on the gritty foundation before letting luscious, morbid riffs wash over you.
I adore the sounds used in this project – often morphing between semi-acoustic to ethereally ambiguous. By track 4-5 you will start to peel back and realize the true experimental and progressive nature of the album. There’s no holding back from the trio as the dive deeply into incredibly unstable and emotional territories – embracing soft distortion and semi-dissonant waves amidst the already established landscape.
Cartoon Forest truly exemplifies the experimental group format – demonstrating the benefit of weaving together the threads of several avant-garde minds. This tape is a blissful journey dense with ideas and riffs that you don’t want to miss. I’ve only heard the digital version myself but I can already tell these tracks will benefit from being heard with the warm process of cassette ribbon passing through a tapedeck.
I am not sure what is in the air that has compelled people to start unearthing and releasing long-lost creations, but I am certainly loving the trend!
From 2014 we have the Cold EP by Vasko the Pig (Fwonk, Webelotrax and beyond) – a hazy and glitchy little experience drawn out across 4 lengthy tracks.
Vasko really flexes their signature “industrial yet melodic” style all over this project, with sweeping pads and buzzing synths engulfing the listener as if we are witnessing some bizarre sonic ritual manifest. The beginnings of harsh shredding sounds ripping through dimensions eventually settle into both rhythmic and melodic clarity.
Described by the producer as “Noisy and Weird. Messier than the stuff I do now” – however you could have fooled me, as tracks like Quarantine Zone (an interesting title indeed!) are focused, polished and intriguing.
For fans of drone, post-rock and ambient vaporwave – there’s a little something for everyone in here. You can stream + download the EP directly from the artists bandcamp.
This month we find ourselves unintentionally focused on the more experimental side of things.
When it comes to music, experimenting can take many forms. It becomes a very broad umbrella terms for sounds that are created with “less-than-commercial” intentions.
Experimental does not necessarily mean complex. Nor does it mean the sounds need to push the boundaries of creation. While these things commonly happen simply given the nature of experimenting, they are not necessary conclusions.
To experiment with music means to create without boundaries or limits. To create with self-satisfaction as the only goal in mind. Creating and manifesting sounds that provide pure pleasure to the creator, and sometimes the listener as well…
At least that’s the definition we follow here!
How do you feel about the experimental process in music and art? Do you find it makes the underground landscape less accessible, or perhaps more interesting? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear from you…
I use the word “satisfying” often when writing about music to help describe a fulfilling feeling without necessarily having a genre or emotion to assign. Yet again I return to that old well to tell you that Pessoa by Distant Animals is a truly satisfying listen.
Pessoa is a longform textural drone composition – a dense and hearty soundscape, populated with peculiar residents. Over the nearly 40 minute track, the listener traverses this alien world, gravitating towards and floating away from points of interest as they crest the horizon.
Hyperbole aside, it’s a carefully thought-out piece of atmospheric ambience. Sometimes dark, occasionally harsh, but overall presenting a mysterious atmosphere of agoraphobia and anticipation. Perfect for adding texture to your immediate atmosphere, or throw on the headphones and lose yourself in a vast expanse of sound.
Forward-thinking experimental electronics peppered with free-jazz – TEEN SMOKING goes all out in this mini album Moist Jazz.
Released in October 2020 – Moist Jazz is a 6 track project that is hard to pin down. Drawing from experimental corners of sound creation such as plunderphonics, harsh noise and freeform jazz. Synths flicker with lo-fi charm, poised against churning atmospherics and occasional flourishing rhythms and melodies.
The album sits at a nice, relaxed pace. Tracks like Atlantean Fight Song and Machine Wash provide a mellow, downtempo experience – breaking up the manic acid-jams. It never gets too hectic, but it is a few active steps away from ambient, despite the very atmospheric nature of the songs.
For fans of plunderphonic vaporwave and experimental ambience – you’ll find this one a unique and rewarding listen. Maybe if we’re lucky it will get a tape release! In the meantime, you can stream and download via Bandcamp.
Such yummy and thoughtful beats from experimental duo laundry – smellophone is a unique and fun collection of tracks. Dark and fuzzy like a juicy plum, it is waiting to be bitten into!
Sometimes the sounds get quite avant-garde, but they are all grounded in delicious lo-fi beats drenched in dank atmospherics. The realm is hazy and shredded, as if viewed through CRT goggles – ripping and morphing the content as it passes through.
It’s dark yet playful – dwelling mostly in mellow and melancholy vibes while maintaining a lighthearted spirit! Even when approaching it’s most experimental (which it does get quite interesting~!), there is always a subtle thread of innocence tying things together.
The 10 tracks wander between harsh noise walls and lofi beat experimentations quite seamlessly. Impressively bridging the gaps between different genres and sounds, it’s a lovely listen and highly encouraged for a nice sonic expedition.
laundry were kind enough to grace us with some download-codes for the album! Grab a code below and head to the download page to get yourself a copy and support the artists!