Exhibition 2018

So as we announced on the 11th April, Exhibition 2018 is released, and now all tracks are available for download or on CD. To recap:

“The Exhibition compilation is in three overlapping flavours: Red, Green and Blue. Very roughly speaking Red is the most experimental, this is where you’ll find the noise, the field recordings, the zero bpm and so on; Green is mostly ambient, dark ambient, neoclassical and melodic instrumentals; Blue is pop, rock, post-rock, synthwave, electro and other radio-friendly music.”

The final line-up is:

Red Volume 1

1. God Cancer – Traffic
2. Noise Cluster – Poor Little Hag
3. James Hoehl – All the Unheard Voices
4. CjaBand-uk – Ghosts on the Cilcennin Hillfort, Samhain
5. Cousin Silas – And That Very Day All The Metal Turned To Powder
6. Feasibility Study – Incubus
7. Hans Castrup – Phantrolyse
8. Lucidbeaming – Grizzl
9. Rauppwar – Bizarre Birds in my Home
10. Mean Flow – Drosoulites (The Ghosts Of Frangokastello)
11. Pisse-Larve – The Ghost Nose
12. Zumaia – Champ de Bataille

Red Volume 2

1. Hypercube and Mario Lino Stancati – Spectral Anomaly
2. Almark – Eclipse
3. Alwin van der Linde – Sprinkle Twit Of Unknown Love
4. Glenn R Sogge – Catacombs of Green
5. T. R. Hand – Red Shift Dragon (Amongst The Stars)
6. Devotionalhallucinatic – Swallowed a bird
7. Dream Sequins/Christopher Petkus/{AN} EeL – The Forest’s Other Entrance
8. Humanfobia – Talking with a Ghost Girl in Rancagua Cemetery
9. Zumaia – Nevar
10. Janusz Brudniewicz – Design – MZSO5841
11. precocious mouse – funayurei
12. Rauppwar – Guitar Player Dogs

Red Volume 3

1. Myrh & DesuEx – The Ride of the Valkyrs
2. idle potentiate – xH[5128AA]
3. Feasibility Study – Angel
4. Valerio Orlandini – Flows of Uncertainty
5. Rauppwar – Dark Home Memories
6. Glenn Sogge – Slow Slush of Red-Shifted Frogs
7. Zumaia – Ritual
8. Schtummm – Feed III Alien Psycho Blues
9. Glauber K. de Souza – Robot Ranger vs The Chupacabras
10. BlindººCoyote – Second Sight: Ancestors in Pantomime

Green Volume 1

1. ikjoyce – Cantre’r Gwaelod
2. Earthborn Visions – The Ninth Wave
3. Icy Rainbows – Slippery Slope
4. Mean Flow – Gionis Lament
5. 3SBAT – Impromptu 11.11
6. Cousin Silas – Memories from May
7. Raas – Water
8. LEZET – January Sun
9. Peri Esvultras – Fakir
10. Ryliss – Shaman’s Dream
11. Tim Kays – Auroral Kilometric Radiation

Green Volume 2

1. Baci Grigore & DesuEx – neoTransylvanian postBallad
2. Carbonates On Mars – Will-O’-The Wisp
3. Intersonic Subformation – Failed Prophecy
4. Phono Input – Dreamtime (悲しいモール周囲の蒸気 – Kanashī mōru shūi no jōki)
5. Andrulian – Onryo
6. Derek Soto – Red Sky
7. Ian Haygreen – The Black Dog
8. Somta – Mother Shipton’s Apparition
9. idle Devotee – i An [å3]
10. Martin Neuhold – Untersberg
11. Jaime Munárriz – no Nemo Dream
12. Raas – Salt
13. Mixtaped Monk – The Mermaid’s Tears

Blue Volume 1

1. Manipulant – SandS
2. Alan Morse Davies – The Grey Lads
3. Cja Band – Summer’s End
4. Cosmic Colonel – Mechanized Destruction
5. Cousin Silas – The Return Of The Son Of The Kidney Thief
6. Crayon Angels – Headed This Way
7. Feasibility Study – Orange
8. Mixtaped Monk – Legend of Finn and the Fianna
9. Bridget Wishart and The Band Of Doctors – If You Call
10. The Moth Poets – Black Squirrel Pelt Collector
11. Ruido – Santa Ana Do Barroso
12. Shice Squad – National Supply
13. Spartan Jet-Plex – Alright
14. The Blank Holidays – I Always Knew

Blue Volume 2

1. Hyperbiped – Pezedemuth B
2. Bridget Wishart & Everling – Hope
3. Merge – Free All
4. The Mild East – The Widow Maker [Alt]
5. The Black Hundred – Thought and Memory
6. ÆVEM & Pampered Fists – Seer
7. Myrh & DesuEx – When The Stars Shift
8. Nurse Predator – Apple Eyed Owl
9. Mangabros. – Weissmuller’s Ghost
10. Autonomaton feat. Chudomir – It’s none of my business, personally I’m not like that
11. m.t. Scott – bloom.bruise.heaven.hearse
12. Mixtaped Monk – The Morrigan’s Fate
13. Pork Bolters – Midsummer Tree

So, this is my opportunity to say a massive and heart-felt thank you to all the above artists who have given their time and their art so generously. This compilation is way bigger than any of our previous releases, and I would be lying if I said it was without difficulties and compromises along the way, but you know what… it’s a great body of work. There are some stunning tracks on there and I’m immensely proud of what everyone has achieved. I’m also delighted that we’ve widened our net and snagged some new talent – I hope we can do it again some time.

We’ve had a very respectable volume of downloads, and a reasonable number of purchases. As you probably know, we don’t keep a penny, all the proceeds go to our chosen charity, The Shaw Mind Foundation, who not only do fantastic work, but are also top people too (they’ve invited me to tea!) so please get out there and push this compilation and let’s raise some cold hard cash.

Rob
Submariner-in-chief

News from the Conning Tower: Exhibition 2018

Wednesday 11th April sees the release of our major compilation for 2018, Exhibition.

The Exhibition compilation is in three overlapping flavours: Red, Green and Blue. Very roughly speaking Red is the most experimental, this is where you’ll find the noise, the field recordings, the zero bpm and so on; Green is mostly ambient, dark ambient, neo-classical and melodic instrumentals; Blue is pop, rock, post-rock, synthwave, electro and other radio-friendly music.

Currently weighing in at approximately eight hours of music by more than sixty artists, the compilation will be available as seven individual volumes (3 x Red, 2 x Green, 2 x Blue). Each volume will be available as a ‘name your price’ digital download or as an inexpensive CD from our Bandcamp store, here. The cover art is once again by the lovely Glove of Bones.

As with our previous compilations, there is a charity benefitting from our work. On this occasion all proceeds will go to the international mental health charity, the Shaw Mind Foundation. We chose them as we wanted an international charity, to reflect the international constituency of our artists, and we liked the way Shaw Mind Foundation tackle not only mental health but also the stigma surrounding mental illness.

We’re using a new CD manufacturer for this project; they use a ‘just in time’ drop-shipping model which removes the requirement for us to hold inventory. It’s a bit of an experiment for us, but if it works it opens up a lot of flexibility for future releases. This does mean that much of the shipping is out of our control, but if customers do have any weird and wonderful requirements we will do our best to fulfil them.

Any questions?

 

I am an artist who submitted a track. Can I have a discount on the CDs? Email us and we’ll sort you out a discount code.

Does the CD purchase include the digital download? Yes

I accidentally bought the download when I really wanted the CD. Can I change my order? Probably. Email us and we’ll sort it out.

I represent a blog/radio station. Can I have some CDs for review or airplay? Probably. Email us to discuss.

I note you say Exhibition 2018. Does that mean you’ll do it again next year? Yes! No. Maybe

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New Releases: Manipulant, Cousin Silas and GOATS

It’s starting to get busy here at the Conning Tower, what with Exhibition and possibly Klang coming up, plus one secret project and two confirmed new artists. So, in our wisdom we decided to release three new works on the same day. You can thank us later. Anyway, we have pretty much something for everyone. Starting with…

We’ve been trailing the Manipulant EP for a while, but now it’s finally released. Manipulant is musician and singer David from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and had a lot of radio airplay with his previous Eclectro album. The new EP ‘perspective’ is a melodic slice of electro that ranges from funky to seductive to jazzy to dramatic. We’re pushing tracks like SandS and Shiveresque to the US university radio stations as we think they really stand up to mainstream radio exposure. You can buy ‘perspective’ from iTunes, Amazon and our Bandcamp store here:

Cousin Silas needs no introduction for fans of ambient music, and that makes it all the more pleasing that he has chosen to place another release with us. ‘Radio Galaxies’, as its name suggests is a collection of cosmologically-themed pieces. Long-form, and deliberately slow-paced and evolving, this is an album that needs to be wallowed in. ‘Radio Galaxies’ is available from our Bandcamp store:

GOATS is a brand new experimental project, comprising Alan Morse Davies (The Clock House, At Sea Records, Truck Stop Rent Boy), Ade Hodges and Declan Owen. The album, made up of five goat-themed titles, also features Neil Campbell of Vibracathedral Orchestra fame and Rene Kita. The music is experimental and ever-changing, challenging in places and accessible in others. The album is ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp but any money raised will go to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) so we hope you’ll give generously.

Review: Sombre Moon/Blurred Reality & Hereafter

Sombre Moon are UK-based electronic duo Amanda Jane Rogers and Steve Loxley.

Their first single ‘Blurred Reality’ received considerable acclaim on its release in October, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a delicious slice of synth-pop; the song is exquisite, with great melodic hooks. Of course, the electronica space is a crowded one at the moment, but the two key features that really set this single apart are the quality of arrangement – the track crams dozens of ideas into its sub-4-minute running time – and Amanda Jane’s dreamy vocals (stylistically she reminds me of Sarah Blackwood of Dubstar fame, and that’s high praise in my book).

The follow up ‘Hereafter’ is more driven; it’s a denser and darker affair. It’s still immediately accessible and every bit as catchy as ‘Blurred Reality’, but there’s an increased sense of directness; the synths are less ornamented here and Amanda Jane’s vocals have a note of urgency and perhaps some vitriol. It’s another great pop song, and like all great pop songs it’s able to connect at an emotional level.

‘Hereafter’ is the lead track of the eponymous EP, which also contains remixes of ‘Blurred Reality’ and the dancefloor-centric ‘Recovery’. Both ‘Blurred Reality’ and ‘Hereafter’ are available directly from Sombre Moon on Bandcamp.

Review: Pendro/Figmentland

Pendro is the name of Tim Jones’ experimental music and sound design project. He released his latest album, ‘Figmentland’, in March. It’s unapologetically experimental, but that’s no left-handed compliment; it’s a fiercely creative album, full of textures, cinematic sound-staging, and even emotion. It’s also an album that rewards repeated listens as familiarity with the basic shape allows some of the deeper layers to be exposed.

The album opens with ‘Stalking The Floating Brass Jaws’, brash, startling and uncompromising, effectively setting the tone for what is to come. The track includes repeating sequences of treated metallic clangs, one of several motifs that will re-appear several times during the course of the album.

The following track, ‘Black Moths’ is rhythmic and insistent, with burgeoning, distorted beats and almost dub-like echoes trailing off into the ether. The track ends with chilling synthetic wails and screams. Moths that flew too close to the flame maybe.

‘Over The Fire Glade’ that follows, starts all slow and swirling, with textures overlapping. It’s worth noting that the whole album warrants headphones to truly appreciate the ingenuity of Tim’s sound design, but particularly in this piece, as themes and motifs chase each other from side to side and front to back. The tone here is ominous, almost monstrous. This soundscape is teeming with wildlife, and possibly not all of it friendly.

The highlight of the album is the epic ‘Turquoise Lagoons’. The piece starts with a bed of gamelan-like bells, chimes and gongs, which are gradually blended with industrial scrapes and hisses. Several minutes in, the gongs give way to clarion alarms and bird-like shrieks, and the track starts to turn dark and foreboding. Like emerging from a tunnel, towards the end the gamelan starts again, this time backed by soothing major chords. The track ends peacefully enough but it’s definitely been a journey.

Just as the first track set out Tim’s stall, the final track ‘Descent To Silver Valley’ is a fitting close to the album. It’s probably the most accessible track on the album, a meditative flowing drone, with numerous textures all interweaving and rising to the surface. Then, just as you begin to think the album is closing with an air of optimism, apocalyptic bass chords fade in, unsettling and desolate. Happy ending denied.

This is an album that demands active listening; it’s not background music for cooking or dinner parties. But for the listener who can dedicate an hour, they will find their investment very well rewarded.

New Release: Somacopia DeFacto

Friday 16th March saw the publication of our latest release, ‘Somacopia DeFacto’ by experimental artists Anthony Donovan and {AN} EeL (Neale D. Retke).

By turns playful and brutal, Somacopia DeFacto is an uncompromising journey into the psyche and is strictly for the adventurous. Fiercely experimental, the album comprises three parts, each made up of multiple sequences. If you are comfortable with the later works of Scott Walker or some of the Beefheart albums, give this a try.

Review: The Modul 303 Benefit Album Vol 2

One of the revelations of operating in the world of netlabels was when I realised there is no huge gulf between the big name successful acts and the independent artists; there is quality to be found at every level of fame and accomplishment, you just need to know where to look.

I mention this because Studio 4632 know exactly where to look. Concentrating on electronic and ambient music, Candy L and Studio 4632 continually release music of the highest quality; this particular album, The Modul 303 Benefit Album Vol 2, whilst not strictly limited to artists from the Studio 4632 stable, maintains this tradition. You would be hard-pushed to find a better collection of electronic/ambient music, regardless of label or budget.

When discussing this album it’s worth noting that there are a number of styles and genres contained here; if electronic music suggests ethereal ambient soundscapes washing over you, there’s much more to this compilation. Indeed Candy has sequenced the tracks with great care such that tracks of similar style and tempo are grouped together and the listener is gently transitioned between the various genres.  The album starts with the contemporary uptempo music of Altocirrus and the positively danceable sounds of Globotom. Thaneco’s ‘Temple IV’ features a playful bassline accompanied by swirling, bubbling synths, building into very satisfying piece. Mixtaped Monk, who follows, delivers one of few guitar-based tracks on the album, the heavy yet haunting post-rock ‘Sense in Sensation’.

As we move out of the uptempo tracks, Glenn Sogge’s ‘Insert Modul 30ED3 Here’ is an exquisitely atmospheric piece, slightly melancholy and despite the hi-tech connotations of the title I felt something ghostly about it. A ghost in the machine perhaps. Another highlight for me is Jaime Munarriz’s delightfully textured ‘Blind Line in Nairoby’,  which changes as it progresses, taking the listener on a journey through a changing landscape. The track that follows, ‘So Little Time’ by Cousin Silas, is achingly beautiful, built on bell-like synths and ornamented with Silas’ trademark crystalline guitar and piano figures. Earthborn Visions’  ‘Kaumendert’ follows, starting with a vaguely ominous asymmetric bass line; additional layers appear as the track progress which help to soothe the sense of foreboding, but it’s a fantastically clever, unsettling piece.

The track from Kellerkind Berlin, as the name suggests, contains many delicious references to the Berlin School of synthesizer music; unusually it also contains a waltz sequence, and even more unusually it succeeds brilliantly, with a natural, deft and airy approach.

Probably my favourite piece on the album is the haunting ‘Journey’s Least Travelled Path Never Ends’ by Playman 54  (Colin Blake). This beautiful piece is centred around Colin’s dreamy, melancholic piano, with synth pads that have the effect of making the listener immediately nostalgic. In a previous review I likened Colin’s work to that of Harold Budd or Roger Eno; this is music of the very highest order and deserves a far wider audience.

There are a couple of beautiful tracks featuring the late Wolfgang Gsell, himself a frequent presence on Modul 303. Both tracks are collaborations, firstly with Lutz Thuns and then Martin Neuhold. Both are joyful, uplifting pieces that feel to me like celebrations of life and nature.

The album closes as strongly as it opened with the cosmic sound of Tim Kays, the playful fairytale soundtrack of EternalKeys and the striking words and music Allen Pitt’s majestic musical poem, ‘Albion’.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this album to anyone interested in exploring the output of Studio 4632, the broadcasts of Modul 303 or just top quality electronic instrumental music. There’s a minimum $3 price tag on the album but I’d suggest you should really pay north of $10 as this is a genuinely superb album.

News from the Conning Tower: Exhibition

So much news, so few typing fingers! OK, Exhibition. Exhibition is the name of our 2018 ‘open’ compilation. There are three strands to the compilation, Red, Green and Blue: Red is the most experimental and challenging, Green is predominantly instrumental or ambient, and Blue is rock, post-rock, pop, electronica and so on.

We’re accepting entries until the end of March, but at the time of writing we’ve had submissions from:

Manga Brothers
Cousin Silas
Merge
Alan Morse Davis
CJA Band
Spartan Jet-Plex
Carbonates on Mars
Autonomaton
precocious mouse
Zumaia
Ruido
Nurse Predator
Ian Haygreen
Rauppwar
Lucidbeaming
Earthborn Visions
Pisse Larve
Peri Esvultras
Noise Cluster
God Cancer
James Hoehl
Raas
3SBAT
Feasibility Study
Cosmic Colonel
Manipulant
Crayon Angels
ikjoyce
Almark
Lezet
Intersonic Subformation
Ryliss
Icy Rainbows
{AN} EeL/Christopher Petkus/Lorne Shapiro
t.r. hand
Hans Castrup
Mean Flow
Against Nature
The Moth Poets
The Blank Holidays
Shice Squad
Tim Kays
Somta
Bridget Wishart & The Band of Doctors
Arka Sengupta
BlindººCoyote
Hypercube & Mario Lino Stancati
Janusz Brudniewicz

It’s going to be huge! You can read the original blurb about Exhibition here.

Keeps Me Alive review of our Manipulant – Perspective EP

Keeps Me Alive gave some very positive feedback on the forthcoming Manipulant EP:

keepsmealive

Brace yourselves, folks, it’s new Manipulant music for 2018!

You’ll recall that I covered the excellent 2017 release Eclectro, and even interviewed the artist. Read it RIGHT HERE.

So, imagine my joy when an email appeared recently to say that a new Manipulant EP will drop on March 26! Happy days indeed, and thank you very much for the chance to hear this, sir.

This EP is 5 tracks in a total of 16 minutes. Let’s get straight to the tunes:

Wander, RTL is a short minute (and a bit) of synth intro, shifting from right ear to left ear, repeating notes creating a mood for… SandS, which takes the tone darker, that bell-like tone pulsing throughout as the drums lay down an energetic beat and the vocals drone and echo and reverberate. This track has a real push/pull to it, equally danceable and melodically meditative, and it…

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New release from Cousin Silas

We are delighted to announce that we have today released our first album from Cousin Silas. ‘Sketches, Rough Drafts and Early Ideas’ is a collection of previously unreleased material, curated by the man himself, dating back to David’s first adoption of the Cousin Silas name.

Despite being early material, the pieces are remarkably mature and accomplished. Fans of Cousin Silas will find plenty to enjoy here, with many of the Silas trademarks already showing through. Several of the pieces are quite sombre and err towards the dark ambient genre, while others feature the use of sequencers, reminiscent of Berlin school elektronische musik.

It’s a fascinating journey, and it’s completely free from our Bandcamp page.

And would you look at that, we didn’t even mention the Kickstarter.