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Music

Richard Skelton: Limnology (CD+book, Corbel Stone Press, November 2012)

This is truly awesome. The CD consists almost entirely of a single drone of strings lasting almost half an hour. There are smooth sawing strings, sharp jaggedy, there’s a repeated phrase of five ascending notes. There may be some kind of cymbals underneath, I think. It starts quietly, crescendos smoothly, and fades away again. Other […]

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Machinefabriek: Colour Tones (CD, Fang Bomb, April 2012)

Mostly, this is the sort of ambient which contrasts pure electronic tones against warm old-vinyl static and an ambient synth which sounds like it’s struggling to stay in tune (and occasionally loses the battle). A couple of tracks break from this template: Brown starts out like a modern classical percussion composition, before introducing an effect […]

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A-Sun Amissa: Desperate In Her Heavy Sleep (CD, Gizeh, March 2012)

Cheery album title, eh? Indeed, this album starts out in pretty mournful mould, reminding me of one of the more sombre string sections from a Godspeed or Silver Mt Zion record. (There’s also something Constellation-like about the track listing, which contains wonders like “Dislocated Harmony i. into small Cold EYES ii. Several Miles Above”. Well, […]

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Music

Gesellschaft Zur Emanzipation Des Samples: Circulations (CD, Faitiche, June 2009)

One of the things that overly earnest indie/alternative types like to say is this: it’s all about the music. What a load. I’d like to advance the following as a reasonable working hypothesis: not one thing, in the whole history of human endeavour, has ever been all about the music. I’m throwing out this poorly-developed […]

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Shackleton: Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ (2CD, Woe To The Septic Heart!, April 2012)

This is… wow, I don’t know what this is. It’s bloody great, though. Let’s start with Music For The Quiet Hour. Through five long tracks, fragments of alien-sounding melodies and rhythms circle around, sampled whooshes and whirrs swirl in and out, and through it all runs a very earnest spoken word piece. It’s like some […]

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Music

Francisco López: Untitled #244 (CD, Sub Rosa, March 2010)

This is 55 minutes constructed out of “Original environmental recordings done at multiple underwater and abovewater [sic] locations in the Panamá and Paraguay rivers”. He even made it in his mobile studio on a boat. The effect is a detailed and immersive soundscape. It’s not all whale-song, though: there are spooky cavern-like episodes, all drips […]

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Music

Grouper: A I A (2CD, Kranky, April 2012)

I’d never quite got Grouper (aka Liz Harris) before. I remember the fuss about 2008’s Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, and at the time I didn’t quite see the attraction. After taking the plunge with this double album, though, I’m a fully paid-up fan. Let’s start with the more conventional half, Alien Observer: […]

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Mohn: Mohn (2CD, Kompakt, April 2012)

Wolfgang Voigt and Jörg Burger’s debut album is very much in the spirit of Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series: this is big, chewy, elastic, in-your-face ambient, full of big crashing noises and dubby swooshes, atmospheric but with as much sense of fun as darkness… it borders on the perky in places. It even has a reasonably […]

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Music

Leyland Kirby: Eager To Tear Apart The Stars (CD, History Always Favours The Winners, September 2011)

The other day, I was listening to Raudio’s stream of Leif Inge’s 9 Beet Stretch, which slows the glorious Ninth of Ludwig van down to fill 24 hours. (I assume this must have been inspired on some level by Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho?) In places, this is what Leyland Kirby’s latest reminds me of: an unmistakable […]

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A Winged Victory For The Sullen: A Winged Victory For The Sullen (CD, Erased Tapes, October 2011)

People laugh at me when I describe A Winged Victory For The Sullen as a post-classical/ambient/drone supergroup. Not quite sure why. To be fair, the description is stretching the point somewhat: both pianist/composer Dustin O’Halloran and Stars Of The Lids’ Adam Wiltzie are pretty super, but two hardly makes a group; however, the record does […]