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
The greatest gift that starting this blog/webzine has given me is the vast number of new artists I get to hear. I consider myself lucky whenever a new album comes in my business email, but when a compilation of numerous artists pops up it is even better.
In this case I refer to Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 by the UK project A Lonely Ghost Burning. On this compilation you are introduced to “atmospheric, vocally-inclined, electronic and experimental music” from all over the world. Such countries include Canada, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA.
Every track, twelve in total, is a brilliant introduction to countless musicians that are on the cutting edge of innovation in their genre. The way the songs can haunt you with their beauty is something to behold. I truly believe in this project and highly recommend Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 for a new listening experience.
Oneiric Escapism Vol. 3 can be found at https://alonelyghostburning.bandcamp.com/album/oneiric-escapism-vol-3
I’ve featured music by Olle Andersson on here numerous times and he has never disappointed. Yet again here is an awesome track called “Dance Off” that is a collaboration between Olle and fellow electronic artist Terje Carlsson. In a recent correspondence with Olle Andersson the song was described as being a long improv session. The results are an electronic dream, with pulsating rhythms and an infectious melodic interaction.
I may be a cynical bastard in general (lol), but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying music that is exuding pure joy and positivity. SOULEYE’s track “Follow Your Heart” does just that. An infectious blend of electronic and rap influence, SOULEYE has a very welcoming sound. In some ways his music reminds me of Matisyahu, but that is just a personal feeling. In any case, I hope you are as pleasantly surprised as I was with this track.
SOULEYE can be found at http://www.souleye.net
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/
One of the most interesting trends in music right now is the resurgence of electronic music like that of the trip-hop golden years (i.e. the 90s). One problem I notice, however, is that the radio is becoming absolutely saturated with these electronic groups and only a few stand out from the crowd. What should an electronic group do so that they aren’t typecast as “just another indie electronic act?”
Enter Chelsey and the Noise with their EP Losing Landscapes. Described in their bio as utilizing “deep analog synths, glitch inspired beats, and aggressive vocals to create a darker breed of electronic music,” this duo of Chelsey Hice and Brent “the Noise” Watters creates a much needed fresh take on the electronic genre.
The album is dark and infectious melodically. The instrumentals are well-composed, the vocals are extremely unique, and ultimately the songs have an immense amount of artistry behind them. Losing Landscapes is kind of like early Nine Inch Nails meets Phantogram and the Cure. It is the 80s, 90s, and modern era of alternative, industrial, and electronic music rolled into one EP.
Chelsey and the Noise is such a breath of fresh air amongst all of the copy-cat acts that are arising in the indie-electronic scene. This duo from the Bay Area is absolutely worth your time.
Losing Landscapes can be found at:
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: