The Toronto-based electronic duo North Atlantic Drift describes their musical goal for Departures Vol. 1 as “trying to get at a certain sound we adore- a simplified ambient drone garnished with static and texture, stretched and given tension with string-like timbres.”
In this hauntingly beautiful and minimalist record, that goal is absolutely accomplished. Throughout Departures Vol. 1 you are given a small set of melodic lines, instruments, and effects to create an audio landscape of sorts. In many ways this landscape is hard to put into words, but one of the videos (found below) for this album give a good visual representation.
There is beauty and darkness. These two intersecting aesthetics are without a doubt the most intriguing components to this record. Without a doubt it is what makes it worth listening to.
Get Departures Vol. 1 at https://polarseasrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/departures-vol-1
The greatest thing about being involved in the electronic genre as long as I have is variety. There are so many different artists out there with their own defining visions of what electronic music should be.
In the case of Portuguese artist a passage to the stars (real name Ricardo Alves), his music is a cosmic journey that elicits joy and mystery simultaneously. What is so fascinating about his album Hope is the understanding of simplicity. There is never too much sound, but just enough to give you a well-rounded experience.
In many ways a passage to the stars is a throwback to artists like Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. There is a similar minimalist approach and equal focus on melodic phrasing as well as soundscapes. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this record.
Hope can be found at http://apassagetothestars.com/hope/
The best kind of music these days is music that defies convention. It’s music that is bold, fresh, and ultimately brave. This bravery can be displayed in numerous forms, but first and foremost the sound must be the focus. In my mind, the bravest music is that which is unable to be boxed into a single genre.
This music is exactly what I find when I listen to An Eclipse of Images. A cooperative project between Italian percussionist Massimo Discepoli and American experimental double-bassist/composer Daniel Barbiero, the record seeks to present musical “ hybrids meticulously built up of acoustic and electronic elements both composed and improvised.”
It does just that. The brilliant interaction between the double-bass, percussion, and electronic synth sounds create an experience that constantly leaves you in different musical worlds. You hear jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and so much more within this record that each listen brings a new perspective.
It is a truly wondrous thing.
An Eclipse of Images can be found at http://www.acustronica.com/an-eclipse-of-images.html
Ambition is sometimes what drives composers insane. Sometimes we get such grandiose ideas that, when we put it together, it turns out to be too great to materialize. Other times, however, these “big” ideas become a large, continuous conceptual work of art. It is the latter that Sunrise Square falls into.
01-09 are, as indicated, nine separate collections of songs (in various numeric groupings) that form one ultimate compilation. It is an extremely vast work but absolutely worth going through as a music reviewer. Sunrise Square’s music is described by the Connecticut-based composer as:
“‘impressionist dance music’ influenced by Wolfgang Voigt, Detroit techno and Hiroki
Azuma’s interpretation of ‘otaku culture’.”
What occurs, to my own ears, is a mixture of ambient, house, and other electronic styles that manages to give off a calm, dance-able musical experience. You can either engage or tune out, and the music accepts either direction.
The three years that Sunrise Square took to make this music was time well spent. I think that there is something for every electronic music fan in this compilation.
Sunrise Square 01-09 can be found at:
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/
When you compose electronic music, bravery is a key component to standing out. You have to be willing to take risks that some may consider too experimental or “far-out.” If done right, you will be duly rewarded with a finished product that communicates your artistic vision.
Ven by Dan Tapper in many ways does just this. The album is, according to the artist, “the result of combining my interest and recording collection of sound from space, alongside speculative and imagined compositions – breaking it into little pieces and smashing it together through my improvisations.”
The music in Ven challenges your perception of music. It constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat and never allows you to push the sounds to the back of your mind. Often times there is no central melody, but rather an amalgamation of sonic experiments that take you into an entirely different dimension.
Ven is a record for those tired of formulaic music, who wish for a massive challenge in what they experience while listening to songs. These are sound collages, not for the faint of heart, but absolutely worth every second if you stick with it.
Just as John Cage and others attempted to shift the public’s understanding of music, Dan Tapper is following Cage’s lead and pushing sound forward through “unheard worlds of the Very Low Frequency (VLF) natural radio band.”
Give Ven a chance. You won’t regret it.
Get your copy at https://elmrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ven-ep
I know I don’t post as much here as I used to but I’ve been busy. One reason is this.
My new album Cataclysm is now available on Bandcamp https://derekkortepeter.bandcamp.com/album/cataclysm
Go get it. 🙂
Reviews of Cataclysm: