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Music

Jacaszek: Glimmer (CD, Ghostly International, December 2011)

Micheł Jacaszek is a Polish composer and producer. This record features harpsichord, bass and soprano clarinet, acoustic guitar, various metallophones, and a great deal of static, washing over and occasionally threatening to drown the delicate chamber pieces. The result hovers somewhere between minimalist early music and modern ambient, which I find surprisingly effective. I bought […]

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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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Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto: Summvs (CD, Raster-Noton, May 2011)

It’s no exaggeration to say that my first hearing of this duo’s 2005 album Insen, and their concert at the Barbican, were transformative experiences for me. I’ve steered clear of their two subsequent releases, for fear that they would be disappointing (while developing a considerable awe of Carsten Nicolai’s other work, and Raster-Noton in general). But […]

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Goldmund: Famous Places (CD, Western Vinyl, August 2010)

Earlier this year, I discovered and was charmed by Goldmund’s 2008 release The Malady Of Excellence. I am equally taken with this year’s follow-up. Like its predecessor, Famous Places is dominated by the piano, recorded with wonderful intimacy by Goldmund (aka Keith Kenniff) himself. However, this has more other instruments and electronic effects than I remember hearing […]

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Brian McBride: The Effective Disconnect (CD, Kranky, October 2010)

Brian McBride is half of Stars Of The Lid (whose …And Their Refinement Of The Decline was a big hit in these parts), and The Effective Disconnect is the soundtrack to the documentary movie The Vanishing Of The Bees. I suppose that makes this drone music in two senses, and a lot of the tracks are indeed […]

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Music

Hildur Gudnadóttir: Mount A (Touch, September 2010)

This is excellent, clever, involving modern classical. These compositions are largely for strings (there is a plenty of cello, which is always good for me), but there are also appearances by zither, gamelan, vibraphone, and some processed wordless vocal sounds. Gudnadóttir plays all these herself. The album has a quiet urgency about it — if […]

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Music

Scott Tuma: Dandelion (CD, Digitalis, October 2010)

There are three distinct sessions to the expanded CD version of this album. We start with the 9 tracks of the vinyl release, which mix Americana (banjo, fiddle, accordion, and so on) with an organic ambient sound (field recordings, tape treatments, and unidentifiable snippets and textures). It’s really very lovely, and quite moving: I felt […]

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Music

Jóhann Jóhannson: And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees (CD, Type, April 2010)

Jóhannson is an Icelandic composer, probably best known for the concept piece IBM 1401: A User’s Manual. This (splendidly titled) album is big, swooshing, string-drenched, and shamelessly dramatic. There are moments which remind me of Philip Glass, others which remind me of György Ligeti. He has a great knack for structure, bringing back themes from […]

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Rameses III: I Could Not Love You More (CD, Type, September 2009)

Awww, my headphones are hugging me. The basis here are long, droning string-like sounds, which pulse at something like the rate of a fast but not frantic heartbeat, and modulate over a much longer period whilst still being recognizably rhythmic. Around that we get touches of lap steel (which can’t help reminding me of the […]

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Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek: Blank Grey Canvas Sky (CD, Fang Bomb, December 2009)

Aw, now, this is fantastic. Peter Broderick’s delicate and richly emotional strings and pianos meet Rutger Zuydervelt’s electronic droning and clicking, found sounds, and production trickery. And they sound like they were born to go together. It’s at once very human and completely alien, defiantly experimental and completely natural. There’s a fair range of styles, […]