We’ve all heard the mantra ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ and yet the same rule of thumb could hardly be said to apply to the world of vinyl, where off-kilter, intriguing artwork oftentimes speaks directly about the music contained within. Case in point – Cool Maritime’s glorious 2022 LP ‘Big Earth Energy,’ which I picked up the other day solely because of the wonderful Lisa Frank-esque neon tree frog gracing the front cover, as well as the promotional sticker which promised an experience inspired by ‘Myst and Studio Ghibli.’
The music almost lives up to this high bar, with seven tracks of instrumental electronic goodness that will bring to mind the cushy, muzak-adjacent environments of pre-2000 personal computer game soundtracks like SimCity or, indeed, Myst. Pleasing sin waves, pitched to replicate electronic tom drums, bounce and squiggle around synth pads and buoyant synthesizer melodies. Drum machines are notably absent, and the resulting music works equally well as background tones to do yoga to, or as an active listening experience. It will most certainly pair well with your next session of whatever intense simulation or strategy video game you’re currently obsessed with. Excellent find.
Thomas Jacob Jr is a Producer, Composer, Singer-Songwriter, Music Educator and Digital Artist currently based in Arizona – Bringing us rare and interesting selections from his extensive Vinyl collection! For more content follow his vinyl-dedicated Instagram account
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.
Whimsical yet melancholy ambient explorations from Canadian producer krzyzis – dusk eater is a pleasant long-form 7 track album of nostalgic soundscapes.
The central element of this release is pressure and tension. Each track forms around a drone backbone, eventually spurring into more abstract and avant-garde directions. Sudden harmonic dissonance, the occasional plucking of strings, a distant siren crying – all swirling together to create a sound that is somehow both relaxing and exciting.
There is something very grounded about this project as well. I am not sure what it is, but it harkens back to the days of Windham Hill albums – ambient with a purpose and a deep emotion associated with it. Perhaps its the ‘movement’ within each piece – krzyzis does a wonderful job not allowing drone/ambient to become stale or stagnant.
This one is good for mellow late nights or as the perfect soundtrack for whatever book you are currently reading! The album is available now digitally via the artists Bandcamp page.
Fascinating electro-acoustic experiments from the duo of Greg Nieuwsma & Antonello Perfetto, brought to us by Hreám Recordings.
Supremely textural and appropriately dense – Asylum is a long form improvisational ambient session that swirls together the best aspects of avant-garde drone and pure sonic experimentation.
The sounds are playful and scattered. Crisp crackles and muted plucks crumble and churn against articulated percussion and semi-random strums. The wholesome tones of zipping steel strings and subtle cymbal pattering ride the line of organized chaos.
For fans of the uniquely avant-garde or anyone interested in having their brain tickled with some interesting tones. The album is available both digitally and on delicious looking cassettes via the labels Bandcamp page!
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.
Ethereal, calm and collected sounds from ambient producer Morteza Jahangiri.
Guo Voices is a 4 track project of sublime melancholy atmospherics. Perfect for a meditation session or morning relaxation to start your day a mellow way.
With a varied electro-acoustic palette – Morteza crafts unique soundscapes with a soft, delicate touch. There’s a cinematic feeling to the music, with chord progressions being slightly more bold than other contemporary ambient. Subtle melodies float atop plush synthetic pillows.
It’s a refreshing and hearty journey – feeling a lot longer than the 4 tracks lead to believe. You will likely find yourself coming back to this one, it’s cozy and thoughtful like an old friend. Stream and Download available directly from the artists bandcamp page.
Hello Music Lovers! I know it’s been a few weeks since sharing anything to this website – the world has weighed me down in all directions – but thing like this only slow us down….. A small thank you to everyone who has stuck with us, this website has been around a long time and we have no intention of going away!
Without further jibber jabber – I am enjoying some really mellow Monday tunes over here, a fresh release from Seouls CHO OYU label – a wonderful little hub for experimental ambient music. สวัสดี 𝐇𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬 features 6 collaborative tracks created by Lua with assistance from Thai multi-instrumentalist Phayam. The project on a whole is very cozy and warm – touching flavors of hope and melancholy, giving the tracks some proper depth.
There is almost 2 sides to each track – a background is painted with lush textures and pleasing progressions – only to act as a stage for plinking and plucking piano riffs that are ultimately satisfying. Tracks like 𝙉𝙤𝙬 𝙄 𝙐𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙 opt for a more stripped-down approach that I can really appreciate – the meditative nature of 2 hands wandering on a piano combined with the overall vibe of the album leads to quite a blissful mindstate…
The album is available now via CHO OYU’s bandcamp page – do yourself a favor and pick up their discography while you’re there – for about 8 dollars you can get all 10 of their releases including this one – so if you find yourself agreeing with this vibe, go and show some support!
New dub-techno sounds from Lithuanian label Cold Tear Records , home to some favorites like Vytis, Joergmueller, Slownoise and Heavenchord, we have a nice and mellow 4-track EP collaborative effort from Thomas Carmody & Altone – Cornflower and Camelia. It’s a tight and pleasant collection of tracks with lots of atmospheric play and subtle sound evolution. Hearty in length, the producers don’t rush the movement – building around slow and steady changes. Repeat listens will only leave you more satisfied than before.
Headphone Commute is one of my favorite places to discover interesting new ambient music – much to my delight they have a new featured mix highlighting minimal sound label Home Normal to commemorate their 10th anniversary. Quite the achievement indeed, and worthy of celebration – much like the mix, which is packed full of blissful atmospheric soundscapes, masterfully curated for optimal relaxation and immersion.
Presented by the illustrious Illuminated Paths crew is this phenomenal collection of tracks from Holobeams, ILLUMINATION!
Beautifully melodic and upbeat – ILLUMINATION soars through 10 tracks in an amazing swirl of synthesized atmosphere. The bubbling energy is bursting at the seams – with satisfying beats leading the way. Deeply satisfying progressions as well, inspiring feelings of comfort and nostalgia. IP recommends you listen on a Tape, and I think they might be right!