The music created by the Toronto experimental artist CARES is best described as jarring. From the very onset of Coping Strategies you are presented with a blast of distortion and dissonance. From that point you are brought to a beautiful ambient track that is distinctively opposite to the rage-fueled dream of the opening track. This theme continues through the EP.
It is these sharp contrasts that makes CARES’ upcoming release so brilliant. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you allow the music to challenge your senses, you are left with an incredibly unique experience. I highly recommend you step into the world of Coping Strategies for yourself.
Ambient and glitch music comes in all forms. Most think of large sweeping arrangements that push you into a proverbial cosmos of sound. The other side to this is where Australia’s tilde (real name Rhys Channing) comes in. With his record Æsthēsis, the composer creates a smaller scale of sound that is almost like traveling through an endless hallway. The hallway is filled with complex rhythmic and melodic overlapping, as well as countless multi-dimensional sound effects. If you jumped into a wormhole, somehow I imagine it would feel much like how Æsthēsis sounds.
Get your copy of Æsthēsis at https://tonelist.bandcamp.com/album/sth-sis
Calm. Introspective. These are the words I would use to describe the music of electronic composer Luis Gabriel Aguilera’s newest album A New Approach. Intending to evoke “the audio expression of the composer (and really the individual) spiritually and emotionally” becoming awake; A New Approach is a minimalist and ambient journey that accomplishes its goal. Every synth effect, piano line, orchestral instrumentation and so on, brings the listener through the composer’s mind. It’s a worthwhile journey.
Get A New Approach at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/luisgabrielaguilera2
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 music of London-based wombat_army (real name Martin Webb) has had a welcome presence at MixolydianBlog for quite some time. As far as electronic artists go, wombat_army is probably one of my favorites in the past decade. You can imagine my excitement when I was sent the link to his newest record circling.
Present in circling is the signature looping effects and melodic lines that come from electronic sampling, synths, and of course cello we know wombat_army for. The minimalism in this record is used as well as ever, with beautiful melodies being placed over a myriad of rhythms and sound effects.
You can tell that wombat_army has gotten more adventurous on this record, as it feels more experimental than previous endeavors. For me this is a great step forward and I hope Martin continues in this direction. The music is a journey that is enjoyable from beginning to end.
Get your copy of circling at https://assemblyfield.bandcamp.com/album/circling
The way the French electronic artist NHOVA describes their music gives great insight into your eventual listening experience. “Halfway between electro-mystical and delicate atmospheres” with trip-hop, industrial and ambient music shown as prominent influences gives a clear representation of their self-titled record.
The synths are dark, brooding, and also soaring with melody. Each track is meticulously constructed with peaks and valleys that bring you a multi-faceted listening experience. Overall NHOVA isn’t just good music, it is an invitation to explore your own mind as you listen. The range of emotions you feel can be existential dread to wonder, and all are valid responses during the time this record plays. You will never experience the same feeling or though twice when listening to this album, and that is a great achievement.
All in all, any fan of complex electronic music should give this a try.
NHOVA can be found at https://nhovaworld.bandcamp.com/album/nhova
One of the greatest sources for inspiration among ambient composers is space. The vast, ever-expanding nature of our Universe is a brilliant jumping-off point for countless pieces that explore our own “galaxy” of imagination.
This is evident in Robert Scott Thompson’s record Pale Blue Dot. With each track evoking space travel in name (like “Perigee,” “Apogee,” and the more obvious “Slow Rotation of Stars”) and sound, it is only natural to imagine oneself in orbit while listening.
The music is haunting, beautiful, and meticulously put together in such a way that you feel a complex set of emotions continuously. Some ambient music is meant to lull you into a trance, but Pale Blue Dot is constantly changing the tonal script, never allowing you to put the music into the background.
As a trained music academic and celebrated modern composer of the experimental; this record only further adds to Robert Scott Thompson’s innovative reputation. The self-described “musical alchemist” does not disappoint.
Pale Blue Dot can be found at https://robert-scott-thompson.bandcamp.com/album/pale-blue-dot