ambient

STONED MAZES - "Temperance"

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Stoned Mazes - “Temperance”

Mexico-based electronic artist Stoned Mazes brings us Temperance, a chilled out collection of spacey, wide-open tracks full of fuzzy synth loops and upbeat rhythms. This latest EP is a continuation of the cool, dreamy beats found on other Stoned Mazes releases.

The opening track, Manners, combines a hazy synth loop with scattered chiptune elements and a driving beat. Still, is a downtempo ballad with emotive keys and an exotic rhythm, The title track, Temperance infuses an energetic breakbeat with synth textures and a buzzed out lead line with just a touch of artful dissonace. Unkind Gestures is built from a clean piano loop with some nice work on the brushes and a subdued synth backing. The EP closes with Peacekeeper, which features a hypnotically cycling ambient vibe surrounded by miniature textural elements.

Overall, Temperance is a short and sweet EP that is a good introduction into what Stoned Mazes is about. It’s a light musical experience with plenty of chillwave bang for your lo-fi buck.

Gray Lee

https://stonedmazes.bandcamp.com/album/temperance

FRAGILE X - "The Butterfly Effect"

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Fragile X - “The Butterfly Effect”

(Bricolage)

Electronic artist Fragile X creates energetic explorations of fast-paced synth and rhythms. Their latest release, The Butterfly Effect is a look into that well-known pseudo-scientific theory of chaos that goes something like: If a butterfly flaps it’s wing in Nepal, a sudden gust of wind may cause me to drop my Ashton Kutcher dvd just as I’m precariously dangling it over Niagara Falls for an Instagram photo.

Charged with powerful kinetic movement, The Butterfly Effect could certainly affect the listener, with pulsating electronica designed to move the mind and body, combining the powers of IDM, dub, ambient, and a dozen other musical disciplines to create a complex concoction of rhythm, motion and tonality. Tracks such as Initial Conditions (0.506) and the title track, The Butterfly Effect, are built on driving electronic beats backed by walls of ambient synth, swelling with surges of emotion and light. Other tracks take on a more aggressive IDM/Drum & Bass approach, for example, the track Chaos Theory, which hits hard with fast paced percussion and soars high on clouds of synth bliss.

The tight production and intelligent sound of The Butterfly Effect gain the listener’s attention, while variety in texture and detail maintains the attention span. If you are looking for motivational vibes that are fresh enough to engage, but produced for replayability, The Butterfly Effect is a sure to change your horizon.

Gray Lee

https://bricolagecollective.bandcamp.com/album/the-butterfly-effect-bc043

BODY TRAINS - "Odonata"

Like a slow ritual in a darkened parking garage, Odonata gleams with gritty, ambient grind, characterized by driving pulses of rhythm, minimal synth, and sinister layers of electronic sound. In the opening track, Waterhouse, a distant voice chants, as the flames dance higher, and the crooked shadows of the worshipers make the corroded cement walls come to life.

LUDWIG BERGER - "Cargo"

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Ludwig Berger - “Cargo”

(Canti Magnetici)

Poetic, detailed, and filled with intimate solitude, Cargo, the latest release from musique concrete magician, Ludwig Berger, bristles with satisfying hum and resonant air energy. Using the aural brushes of field recording, ambient drone work, and thoughtfully artistic editing, Berger paints portraits of everyday occurrences with vivid detail.

Water is not made of waves, but droplets. Children play in stereo around the listener. Jovial workers labor in bright sunlight. Birds call from trees. Occasionally a dramatic sweep of ambient power pushes the narrative forward, but often the listener drifts through each vignette, pausing for an undetermined time to discover the intricate secrets of each new scene.

At the close, Cargo could mean many things. Perhaps the ocean waves convey cargo in unseen ships, or the workers are loading cargo. Or maybe the sounds we are hearing are the cargo. Records of another place and time, preserved on a thin strip of magnetized tape.

Gray Lee

https://cantimagnetici.bandcamp.com/album/cargo

Whettman Chelmets - Infant Eyes and Baby Steps

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Whettman Chelmets - “Infant Eyes and Baby Steps”

(Girly Girl Musik)

The indefatigable Whettman Chelmets drops his first release for 2019 in the form of a tight, little EP that communicates the travails and triumphs of raising a newborn but in a style that only Whettman can deliver.

The droning, ambient post-rock of the tracks certainly convey the surreal, sleep-deprived state that all parents have experienced. Indeed, track titles such as TFW it’s 400 am and you’ve been up 3 times already and MRW I Drop the Passie in the Dark express a verisimilitude of lived experience, and the field recordings of life in the Chelmetts’ household further amplify the authenticity.

Fans of Whettman’s previous work such as Annihilate your Masters and Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive will recognize the expansive soundscapes he can create with with reverb-drenched shoe-gaze guitar work and ambient synth. However, where Annihilate Your Masters stayed gritty and nihilistic, this latest EP goes to uplifting and hopeful places. Likewise, where Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive could be overly giddy, Infant Eyes and Baby Steps is touchingly heartfelt.

All in all, another solid release for the Whettman discography and the soundtrack for sleep-deprived new parents everywhere.

Theron Willis

https://girlygirlmusik.bandcamp.com/album/giant-eyes-infant-steps

ARROWOUNDS - "Book of Endangered Species"

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Arrowounds - “Book of Endangered Species”

(Histamine Tapes)

With a captivating sound that right away becomes dimensional, Book of Endangered Species presents itself as an audio riddle to be solved by the listener through repeat plays. The opening chapters of this 'book' are embellished with layers of murky, convoluted ambient sound, like a wet layer of forest leaves that must be dug away at to reveal what they are hiding. Turning these earthen pages uncovers muddy drones that move in and out of the listeners space, filling the aural atmosphere with tangible light, and vague tendency to purpose.

While some tracks, such as Glass Cemeteries, tend to drone more directly - there always seem to be shifting levels of texture within the output that continues the interest and thought pattern. Instead of lulling the listener into another consciousness, these sounds invite the listener to explore the current one. Other parts of this story like, the track Rainier, are more cinematic in nature and begin to cycle in light orchestration, and undulate more dynamically than the opening pieces. Throughout the work, varied audio experiences and complex networks of field recording provide a tactile and detailed look at each aspect of the story being told.

The final chapter of the Book of Endangered Species is a lengthy sidelong exploration of a vast, cave-like space. This selection is called Blue Rivers Through Black Earth and is a more traditional droner and is certainly transportive in nature. Overall, this work is a contemplative and multi-faceted exploration of narrative that bears closer inspection and reflection.

Gray Lee

https://histaminetapes.bandcamp.com/album/book-of-endangered-species-ht015

TAXXESS - "Resistance Fatigue"

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Taxxess - “Resistance Fatigue”

San Antonio experimental dark idm artist Taxxess releases Resistance Fatigue, a dark and twisted journey into an avant-garde electronic world of driving rhythm, disembodied voices, and piles of computer pasta. 

The opening track Intrusive Thoughts, sets the tone for the album by delivering dark, smoky ambient chambers filled with downtempo brooding and distorted speech. This leads the way into Anxiety, a tense and grinding throb of idm beats, furious bleeps and bloops, and screechy, terrifying vocalizations. Resistance Fatigue continues into other audio zones including The Fuss, which is an intricate mess of woven robotic sound, Scatter, a mechanical string trimmer jam with a swarm of chewed up, buzzing machine sounds, and also an absolute burner of a track called Ideation, a minimal offering with atmospheric pottery pounding and malevolent dronings, and a shadowy and deep conclusion.

Taxxess closes out the proceedings with Nublood, which is a slower piece, filled with slowly aggressive rhythms and buzzing drones of cruelty. Overall, Resistance Fatigue is a cathartic mix of determination and sorrow, willfully constructed with technological artistry.  

Gray Lee

https://taxxess.bandcamp.com/album/resistance-fatigue

RHUCLE - "More Beautiful Than Silence"

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Rhucle - “More Beautiful Than Silence”

(Constellation Tatsu)

Rhucle returns with another starry sky full of wide-open promise and heartfelt wonder made from ambient vibes dripping with echo-laden odes to beautiful autumn nights walking in cool crisp air and dreaming. Soft soundscapes full of moonlight and rain, drizzled with gentle synth beds and lightly imbued with distant and vaguely human field recordings help to create a sound that is solitary, but not lonely.

This release opens with a calming track entitled With the Natural Noise - a soothing blend of transcendent beauty and skygazing. Each selection on the album delivers a powerful dose of deep breath, slow heartbeat, and open thoughts focused on good memories and hopes for the future - perfect for your afternoon wanderings, or evening reflections.

For those of you familiar with Rhucle’s work, this release is a perfect companion for last year’s Fantastic Garden - the two releases offer different perspectives of the same serene ideal - offering precious moments of escape from the pressures of modern living.

Gray Lee  

https://ctatsu.bandcamp.com/album/more-beautiful-than-silence

VALYRI - "Expanses"

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valyri - “Expanses”

(Asura Revolver)

Longform electronic explorations of untold universes that exist beyond our feeble perceptions find a home in this patient and vast recording, Expanses. Comprised of six extended tracks that carry the mind of the listener away from earthly patterns and lift toward the myriad of heavens above, this latest release from dark ambient/ experimental drone artist valyri is nothing short of a metaphysical journey to endless non-corporeal realms of astronomical grandeur. 

Expanses begins with Pseudologue sequv.6, formed from a rapidly cycling synth pattern, imbued with a brightness and wide open freedom that envelopes the listener in spiraling tunnels of light, firing across the kaleidoscope of space at immeasurable speeds. The next movement in this space symphony is Brokensun recognition (phase silhouette,) a heady arrival in a timeless zone of eternity, transported slowly by drifting ambient clouds of glowing energy. Different depths of mood pass across the starry vastness, from euphoric jubilation, to shadowy ruminations, but all energies lead to the central energized core of this epic - a dissolving of place and time.

It is the removal of where-ness that truly characterizes this release. From the sweeping and grandiose opening overtures to the detailed sorrows of a thousand drifting, lonely souls in Disappointment Theme, to the haunted piano soliloquy that melts into a buzzing mechanical afterlife in the closing track Music for Dysgnosia, valyri steers the voyage as a skilled traveler, guiding the listener from one existence to another.

Stephen Hawking once said, “To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit,” and Expanses illustrates the endless possibilities that await the spirit no longer tethered to the base concerns of earthly life. 

https://asurarevolver.bandcamp.com/album/expanses

To expand your reach beyond valyri’s latest production, she invites you to explore a greater universe with a subscription to her full calalogue:

https://valyri.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Gray Lee

 

WHETTMAN CHELMETS - "Alas... The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive"

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Whettman Chelmets - “Alas… The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive”

(Submarine Broadcasting Company)

The eclectic and electrifying Whettman Chelmets worms his way back into your auditory canal by dropping a shortish EP with a longish title and shoe-gazerish feel.

Alas… The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive canters out of the gate with the The Sun is Shining -a merry little dream-pop ditty with a toe-tapping bass and drum section driving the melodic interplay between sparkling guitars and arpeggiating synthesizers.

The interlacing layers of guitar and synth take a pensive and darker tone on the second track Alas -an organic ebb and flow of sound and emotion with the dynamics dictated by a throbbing low end.

Not to leave any part of the album title unused as a track name, the EP ends with You are Still Alive -an ambient dronescape where reverb and delay-saturated guitars clash notes with a celestial drone that rises to a cacophonous yet transcendent crescendo before echoing off into infinity.

Whettman Chelmets never disappoints and his latest release upholds his reputation as a fun but serious composer who can pack a wallop in 20 minutes or less.

Theron Willis

Check out the link below to add this gem to your collection.

https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/alas-the-sun-is-shining-and-you-are-still-alive

P.S. Check out our reviews of some of Whettman Chelmets’ other work by clicking here and here

DIAMONDSTEIN & SANGAM - "The Ocean Between Us"

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Diamondstein & Sangam - “The Ocean Between Us”

(Doom Trip Records)

Thus arrives the much anticipated second team-up between Diamondstein and Sangam - a jazzy, rain-soaked night drive in an imagined 80’s film. The Ocean Between Us is a high-dollar injection of absolute mood. Mood drenches every inch of this record, from the swirling synths of the opening track, April 1987, to the hazy patch of fog that briefly wafts by in the closing track, Here is Where I Sit, this release delivers everything which it promises, neatly topping the duo’s previous Doom Trip release, Lullabies for Broken Spirits.

For reference on what to expect in this release - see the track Finding Peace Where There Isn’t. Built from an ambient backer, with a driving synth loop, and a electronic drum sounds that merge together to evoke distant stretches of lonesome highway and long, thoughtful gazing at the starry horizon as desert, city, and mountain pass by the windows of an ever-moving automobile, traveling from one emotion to another, always maintaining that elevated sense of tone, imbued with draught of heightened feeling.

Feeling is the main instrument used in this work, an instrument that both artists wield with proficiency and tightly focused intent. If you’re looking to go on a journey without leaving, or you are leaving on a journey and need a true accompaniment, this one is for you. The Ocean Between Us, a stylish record deserving of presentation in LP format, (a first for the label,) is now available.

Gray Lee

https://doomtrip.bandcamp.com/album/the-ocean-between-us

[Album of the Month] CROSBY MORGAN - "Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah"

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Crosby Morgan - “Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah”

Los Angeles singer songwriter Crosby Morgan brings her adept arrangements and powerful voice together in this exceptional experimental folk EP. Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah blends folksy acoustic guitar textures, soaring vocals and artistically woven ambient components to create hauntingly beautiful audio works that defy time and space.

In No Pain, a simple, picked-out guitar and carefully placed aural elements provide an earthly background which Crosby Morgan paints her smooth vocals across. She then records repetitions and harmonies that call, respond, and reflect with each other. In Rain, reversed guitar and looped vocals pull the listener into the track, which opens up into a grand, reverberated verse. Teacher is a guitar waltz with a soulful, harmonized vocal. On each selection of the album she exerts a control over every note, intonation, and echo - creating a stunning sound that invites leaning forward to absorb it fully.

Though short, Rain Games for the Natural Born Pariah takes the beautiful work Crosby Morgan did in her previous release Patrons of Silence, and pushes her music to another artistic level, leaving us with a startlingly beautiful musical experience.

Gray Lee

https://crosbymorgan.bandcamp.com/album/rain-games-for-the-natural-born-pariah

SANGAM-”Departure”

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Sangam-"Departure"

(Aescape Sounds)

Before you do anything else, click the Bandcamp link at the bottom, take a deep breath, and let the music wash over you as you read this.

You are now entering a drony dreamscape, an unreal realm.

Swelling synths, elven choirs and natural sounds inhabit this sonic space and with each intricate layer entice you deeper and deeper into this bewildering but strangely familiar world.

The creator of this world, Sangam, guides you gently through his digital dominion and reveals in small glimpses all that goes on in his kingdom.

Sailing Heart casts ominous foreshadowings with its lush string pads, arpeggiating synths and the hints of a melody that never seems to resolve itself.

The heavenly title track shines the blessed light of transcendence with its angelic choir and washes away all impurity with its cleansing rain.

The enchanted forest of Cogent (Feat. Rhucle) will absolutely spellbind you as the rain falls once again in the stillness of sylvan solitude.

You probably want this experience to continue, right? Well, the digital download is name your price, so you really don’t have an excuse, do you?

However, a digital deity with the awesome power of Sangam deserves a much better offering than such a pathetic pittance.

We will PERISH without his nurturing rain to once again replenish our barren musical landscape!

Therefore, we must honor him with a sacrifice that befits his musical majesty or risk displeasing him.

No, no no. No blood sacrifice is necessary.

A cassette or vinyl purchase will do nicely.

Theron Willis

https://aescapesounds.bandcamp.com/album/departure

ANDREW WEATHERS/ QUALCHAN Split

Andrew Weathers/ Qualchan Split

(Aescape Sounds)

Andrew Weathers

The Andrew Weathers side of this split tape is desolate and a little unhinged. It transmits an image of sunset over a midwestern town plagued by some dark mystery, that can only be solved when a gritty down-on-his-luck detective finally faces his own personal demons. After that, it's easy to solve the crime. 

There is a rusted lonliness to this sidelong presentation that is drenched in a meloncholy atmosphere you can taste. Hazy synths weave in and out of ambient setpieces, like footprints in the fog.

Qualchan

Qualchan takes the stage before the smoke and mystery from Weathers has time to clear away, but his side of this story has to do with the characters who inhabit this uncanny municipality. Channeling vintage Badalamenti vibes, Qualchan's ambience has a touch of misty subltey that finds an odd beauty in all the madness and murder. Making use of his varied bag of tricks, you can expect to experience walls of ambient feelings painted with undulations of synth that seem to answer questions with more questions. 

Next time you're out on a long stretch of highway, searching the horizion for solutions to unsolved cases, or for answers to age-old questions, reach for the Andrew Weathers/ Qualchan split tape - the soundtrack for seekers. 

Gray Lee

https://aescapesounds.bandcamp.com/album/andrew-weathers-qualchan