Elsewhereness revisited is an occasional feature documenting the drift at the margins: ambient gasbagging, tube-lubed, cloud-ed, and bcamped-up, complete with companion mix, Elsewhereness revisited #2
Two reissues on neonate Pre-Echo plus In Summer, a Geographic North tape now d/l-able, top up New-Noise-Romantic Jefre-Cantu Ledesma‘s HQ* (see “Love’s Refrain”‘s Cocteaus vs. chillwave). Lovers of A Year With 13 Moons or any of J-CL’s selected proto-/post-ambient works—as Tarentel, The Alps, solo, or other Root Strata—will thrill to these: Songs of Forgiveness extends into long woozy slabs that open up into strings of sun-struck images seen through a halation-effected glass darkly via disintegrative memory flickbook. Songs Of Remembrance is a 21-piece parade of decaying motifs, tape tangles of slender miens, chromatic wash-out and plasmic fuzz, ‘occupying a liminal zone between defocussed fogginess and crisp, spectral disturbance that sets his work in a dimension of its own […], potential new evergreens for ambient mornings, faded come-downs and dreamy points between.’ (kat call) (*hypnagogue quotient)
Ben Rath is a budding great axescape-ist whose ‘humble tries, amateur sound design, home electronics, cheap mics and old acoustics, inherited keyboards, uncertain communiques, spaces between notes, deep rumbles, loose approximations…’ (sc page) came onto our radar lately. The Mancunian’s Forgiveness (Sound in Silence) ‘might resolutely seduce fans of soothing and blissed-out electronic textures of Tim Hecker, Celer, Christian Fennesz or Ben Frost,’—so says our Philippe (igloo-‘view). He also has All In Good Time on Unknown Tone, on which trail we also stumbled on Tone curator Mark Kuykendall‘s The New Honey Shade, whose for linda with its simpler pleasures beguiles more than sightless seasons‘ somewhat conceptual fare.
‘Opening onto a plane of droning sound, arriving via a wave of seemingly simple white noise, crashing through reality to forge an ambient space of haunting meanderings’ (fb) is about “Fracture” from Transfigured, which is here ‘cos it’s great, if not state of Erinome‘s art; for this see It is the Shelter of Each Other that We Live on Mattias Nilsson and David Wenngren’s 1631 Recordings, to which Aaron Ross Hansen ‘brings a wide range of experimental sound art… drones, loops, field recordings, glitch and non-traditional beats.’ More on his musical provenance in a recent Sounds of a Fat City mix—a ‘blend of power electronics and ambient’ [that] ‘explores the relationship between electronic and acoustic tones, organic and industrial textures’.
Injury is not my idea of fun, but the ‘sudden traumatic injury to his mouth and teeth’ suffered by Will Samson just after relocating to Portugal from the UK has occasioned no little pleasure round here. What’s up with that? Well, just that we don’t welcome wibbly-warbling, and with Will’s wound wording him down, instrumental phasers are set to stun. Ageing tape machines mediate a wavering haze over the vales of tears streaming through Lua‘s slew of speechless space ballads. Catch “You Are An Ocean”—feat. Benoît Pioulard*—as it drifts across the soundstage smeared with filmic layers. Relocation imbues the music too—a sense of remotion in the sunstroke melodics and vapor tones circling it. A good 12k‘s worth. (*pretext to plug name-your-price Radial, three stray pieces EP-ed up to help pay for treatment to a bone fracture (hurt makes happy again!))
For some, ‘the saddest music in the world,’ Barber’s Adagio, first aired in 1938; judged ‘perfect in mass and detail’ and ‘full of pathos and cathartic passion’ (though panned by some as ‘dull and utterly anachronistic’ and ‘suffering from repetitiousness’ – philistines! Ed.), it’s now a fixture in the classical canon. Celer’s Will Long transformed sounds from a personal Barber trip via tape and digital processing, and recorded and released the outcome as a ltd ed cdr in 2008. I love you so much I can’t even title this (The light that never goes out went out)—note Smiths reference—was ‘the laziest title I’ve never written’ in the words of quondam partner, Dani. ‘The theme was overwhelmingly obvious, and the title was direct’ is Long’s elliptical comment; similarly terse re: the cover photo—of a New Orleans cemetery—chosen a few years later, ‘another direct message, yet like everything else, entirely unintentional.’ Reissued by Infraction as a 2xLP, it’s ambient remotion with emotional freight—at once gossamer light and lead weight. Passing bc-combing turned up old Infraction fave, Eluder, with a self-release, Lords—2015, but counts as new, recalling Through Horizon and The Most Beautiful Blue.
Chris Herbert has pleasingly pockmarked Kranky (Mezzotint) and Room40 (Constants) back catalogs, now Nottingham droners, Low Point, indulge Birmingham’s best in his interest in ‘intuitive composition’ and sound collage. On Katushki‘s two long-form pieces the ‘dedicated non-musician’ plays with new approaches and techniques; “Supposed Corona” revisits material broadcast on Aussie radio, documenting recent detours in the form of collaborative pieces (material originally processed by Nicholas Bullen and Elias Merino), alongside on-the-fly inquiries into fractured textures. “Memorex Delta” takes the cassette medium as part of core sound process; ‘themes of phasing and stippled atmospherics pervade’ (consults Disintegrative Audio glossary), and ‘working against the idea of formal tracks and away from set expectations was liberating […], extended length […] allowing him to focus on the more atypical and personal aspects of his working practice.’ Which is nice…
With Belgium’s taâlem turning 15 this year, it takes time out to engage in future-prepping while celebrating its past. Their celebration is ours too as the massive historical overview that is vijftien années (note combo of Dutch and French, a Belgian speciality!) is free to download, offering 109 (yep, one, hundred, and, nine!) extracts from all the physical taâlem releases of the past 15 years (11.5+ hrs playtime!). Their mission of ‘exploring the different sides of ambient music’ is rationalized: ‘as we’re tired of all these ultra-limited & ultra-expensive releases, taâlem discs are unlimited editions and are sold for a cheap price. As long as demand exists, every release is available.’ Knocking it back in one is not advised, rather discrete draughts from a bottomless post-industrial ambient soundscape well. Familiars—Yui Onodera & Chihei Hatakeyama, Celer, Pleq, Yann Novak, Ben Fleury-Steiner, David Tagg, Fabio Orsi, Hakobune, Jannick Schou—are joined by a cast of a hundred more. All tracks are edited down to 6 mins each, making for a mega-sampler of ambient, field recordings, tribal, drone, ethno-ambient, experimental, concrète, et al.
Whitelabrecs hosts Russell Glynn for ‘the homespun result of freewheeling experimentation & careful tinkering.’ His lineage in DIY recording issues in Examples Of—guitar, violin drones, tape loops processed, tape-recorded and re-recorded, mics round an old deck capturing cassette crackle with electro-acoustic drone, household objects (e.g. a metal tape measure cast round a room) and field recordings (distant winds, muffled blather, remote chimes). Nostalgia is cited as a signified for its odd mix of optimistic and faintly unsettling. Label boss Harry Towell aka Spheruleus has an album too: Obsolarium is replete with acoustic sources typical of the Spheruleus sound—piano, guitar, violin, voice, zither and harmonica recordings wrought into a crumbling 10-track tableau inspired by the abandoned Bass Maltings brewery complex near his home town. Its state of dereliction and decay—a feature of his work—led to a series of photos and field recordings, the resulting decaying instruments, samples, drone loops and lo-fi VST effects harnessed in storying the success of a big brewery, the distribution rail links, before descending into doleful dwelling on what once was to crumbling disintegration.
Time Released Sound renews Porya Hatami communion with electronica legend Arovane for Kaziwa, following Hatami’s Arrivals and Departures (2014), Resonance (Éter, 2015), and Veerian (Eilean, 2016) with Darren McClure. It ‘could serve as a soundtrack to a Twin Peaks episode that never happened’ or ‘an old black and white film noir,’ says McClure. Hatami’s signature pianisms take center stage, Uwe Zahn manning virtual piano emulator, Una Corda. Sound source focus is explicitly piano-led, the elements round it pared back. Spectral shimmers shadow its plaintive plink, reverb haunting the spaces in-between, piano-focused mission not creeping in a sonic enquiry pursued through 15 études of glassine mien. Exploratory piano trills flicker dustily in minimally altered states. Kaziwa=’dusk’ (Kurdish) and a crepuscular tenor is evident on such as “vaun” and “lith,” though other moods are available: light and ludic (“uun”, “abiee”), slightly shivery (“juee”, “phea”). Hatami is also part of Audiobulb‘s Evidence of intense beauty, an argument via leading ‘bulb light David Newman’s picks from a bright back catalog incl. Clem Leek, Wil Bolton, Sawako, Taylor Deupree, Autistici, Richard Chartier, Ian Hawgood, Marcus Fischer, Monty Adkins, Antonymes, Listening Mirror, and Pascal Savy.
Serendipitously stumbled on (through a Moon Zero google tangent), Bruised Skies, whose Guide, is a sold out Blank Editions tape now open to bc nyp digital d/l-vultures. ‘A layered, visual music that captures a melancholic isolated landscape perfectly like an ocean of sound lapping against the shores of a mysterious fog engulfed island, guiding the listener in and around its coastline, uncluttered and effortless, yet never abrasive or self-indulgent,’ the blurb hyperbolizes, with de rigueur refs to film OSTs—Stalker or Lynchian dream sequence—for its nicely bleak echoic ambient drone.
Not even discogs has anything on the artist known as Meta—other than details of Ambienti: Volume I. It’s hosted by Hypnus‘s leftfield twin, Kabalion, which also ups Periskop, who we do know about; Danny Kreutzfeldt, once prolific as sgnl_fltr, Fallingapparatus, Sectorchestra, and given name, re-emerged last year after a hiatus with Immerse, a set of ‘industrial dub techno, dark ambient & submarine noise’ recorded 2000-2008. ‘Essentially one long dark dive into deep-sea and chthonic space,’ (igloo ‘view), Kreutzfeld’s interest in ‘early dub techno’ (cf. Chain Reaction) and the ‘dark ritual emotional/cathartic approach of the industrial soundscape movement of the 80s and 90s’ (cf. Thomas Köner) is now furthered on the North EP, compiling four abyssal techno trips from 2004-8, pre-dating a recent post-industrial psycho-techno kick (mastered by Mattias Fridell, one notes).
Room40′s brother magnetic tape label A Guide To Saints issues Portland-based Gabriel Celestino Higgins’ latest, Beyond Enemy, which expands the sound world created on his previous, Kindling, steering its textural harmony into waters with darker undercurrents. A vague post-industrial pall pervades. Or perhaps an empty room with dust motes hanging illumined by light rays. The blurb has it that ‘the edges of the tones are also subtly serrated, splicing at each other with a restless drive.’ That ought to do it. One might also note Lawrence English lurking behind this.
Antwerp’s Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere. somewhat sulkily, in tune with its music, announces its catalog’s availability as digital download ‘as an unavoidable extension of the label, nevertheless will our focus remain on putting out physical releases.’ Novella by Leaaves, dealing in ‘Digitally-Manipulated Drones + Assorted Zones,’ is best. We’re told: ‘A view reveals a pristine efflorescence, born out of residual soil. With a fundamental, buoyant sensation, neither brisk nor dragging, […] exposes a figment of reality like an unstartled gaze.’ Fair enough. Want more Leaaves? Get once ltd. ed. tapes as name your price bc d/ls—Sunwheel/Submersible Sailboat (Midnight Moon Tapes) and Be Mindful (ERR REC). Need more Belgian miserablism? Check Caprice and Necessity, similarly DIY arty-looking ultra-ltd. cassette + bc d/l-cheapie dealers in lo-fi ambient/drone/noise; Vermillion, captured in a poetic couplet as ‘Calm repetitions in chroma. Carried by current and emotion,’ from washed-out mopers, Cannes, and Choreographed Words from pouty dreamers Autre Monde, once on now defunct Weight of Ages (a C&N cousin, surely, with likemind monochrome set, etiolated tones and Xeroxed art).
Anthéne is an ambient droner out of Toronto dealing in miniatures made of guitar, synth and tape hiss/noise. Brad Deschamps moonlights with North Atlantic Drift and puts it all out on his own Polar Seas. Permanence, originally a ltd cd on Cathedral Transmissions, is the most recent exhibit, before which came Aurora, now a bc nyp goodie, both of which see Deschamps treating ‘guitar loops, juno synth and melodica’ very nicely. More guitar drone-mediated mood management, this of a Forest variety, comes in Acclimation, recorded & mixed at home, the library, and Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Chicago. Elsewhere there’s much more on a previous John Daniel Encounter.
Portuguese soundsmiths Liminal and Aires, out of Lisbon and Madeira respectively, sound the depths from oceanic to chthonic on a split ep for Prague’s Genot Centre. Liminal wrings ambient noise tableaux from atmo captures, resonant objects and nicely scuzzed up textures, electroacousticky techniques and timbres pressed into service of three nocturnal humming tracts. Aires deploys slow shifting tones and organ shimmer that bespeaks hermetic spaces and weather eyes kept; redolent, the blurb says, of ‘Richard Chartier’s auditive interpretations of colorfield painting and […] the convoluted, immersive sound of Stephan Mathieu,’ and not far off in tagging these quiet drone smears with their doleful turns and shadowy suggestions.
Dedekind Cut, once known as Lee Bannon, real name Fred Warmsley, has an album, Successor, forthcoming on NON. Reason for mention is that this free spirit (one assumes from stuff like ‘My art is my air, 100% free, as I want it and no loyalty to any instrument so far. […] think above sea level and be open to my evolution.’ (Marvin)) has posted a sample on sc that’s both engrossing and nicely sui generis. (n.b. looks as if it’s been taken down from sc, but it’s in the accompanying Elsewhereness Revisited #2 mix. al.)
‘Was the world not ready for William Basinski in 1982, or was William Basinski simply not ready to hand himself over to an audience at that point?,’ ask the kat people, contemplating a remastered 2LP vinyl ltd ed. of 92982. First issued in 2009, it’s a highlight of his late period, in particular the track “92982.3,” ‘a beautiful study in the interplay between an instrumental performance and the medium onto which it’s recorded, full of ruptures and low frequency rumble as the tape itself interferes with the flow and consistency of the music,’ (kat‘s miaow). With no video good to go with Billy B., we end with some kindred spirit hypnagogue fare whose title (“L. Couti fs16/17 preview”) presumably points to proto-ambient post-vaporwave fave, L’eoscombu Couti aka Stew Bird (see here), though cryptically bearing the legend Prosperidad Enviroware. Unfathomable, but strangely compelling.