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Music

UnicaZürn: Sensudestricto (LP, Touch, April 2019)

UnicaZürn are Stephen Thrower out of Coil and David Knight out of Shock Headed Peters, and Sensudestricto is a mix of moody ambient and pulsating psych-tinged drone. Across four long tracks (five on the digital streaming version) they pull an impressive array of blarps, bloops, squishes, and swirls out of what sounds like mostly analogue […]

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Anna von Hausswolff: Källan (Betatype) (12″, Touch, November 2016)

What with the excellent recent records from Claire M Singer and Bethan Kellough, Touch have been on a pretty stunning run of form recently, and this release absolutely keeps up the good work. As with Solas, the composer is doing some awesome melodic drone work on a pipe organ, in this case the astonishing Acusticum organ […]

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Claire M Singer: Solas (2xCD, Touch, June 2016)

Ooh, now this is really, really good. Claire M Singer, who is the musical director at the Union Chapel, has apparently been writing and performing for 14 years, but this is her first record. It’s really top notch classical drone stuff, with the traditional strings supplemented by some juicy work on the Union Chapel’s organ, […]

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Bethan Kellough: Aven (CD, Touch, August 2016)

This is a short (28 minutes) but perfectly formed bit of intense atmospheric ambient. It’s made mostly of Kellough’s own droning string arrangements, field recordings (from Iceland and South Africa), and a bunch of processing. From the opening seconds you’d be forgiven for thinking this was going to be at the floaty end of the […]

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Fennesz: Mahler Remix (LP, Touch, January 2016)

In which Christian Fennesz applies the techniques he usually uses on his guitar to a bunch of recordings of fellow Austrian Gustav Mahler (and his guitar). This inevitably invites comparison with Matthew Herbert’s working over of the composer’s tenth symphony for Deutsche Grammophon’s Recomposed series. I have to say, the comparison does this work no favours: […]

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Mika Vainio: Fe3O4 — Magnetite (CD, Touch, August 2012)

Mika Vainio treats us to another fine selection of sudden clunks, gut-wobbling buzzes, and long ominous silences. An obvious reference point would be his last album with Ilpo Väisänen as Pan Sonic. The comparison is interesting: this trades a little of Gravitoni‘s raw power for a little subtlety. You could almost say that this is the chamber […]

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Hildur Guðnadóttir: Leyfðu Ljósinu (CD, Touch, May 2012)

Wow. Spell-binding. I know Guðnadóttir from Mount A, a fine collection of cello-centric drone-oriented modern classical pieces. This is on a whole other level. It is a live recording (with “no post-tampering”, according to a somewhat earnest sleeve note which is, in this case, entirely excused by the power of the music) with the composer on […]

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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

Philip Jeck: An Ark For The Listener (CD, Touch, September 2010)

Like the best ambient works, two minutes into this record I feel like I’ve been listening to it for aeons. I mean that in a good way: it is a testament to its immersive, timeless quality. (A few other types of music can do this too me: interestingly — to me, anyway — I get […]