Ambient

News from the Conning Tower: GOATS ‘Far Out’

Next month we have another big release, the much anticipated new album from experimental supergroup GOATS.

Far Out is GOATS’ second album, and it is a different beast from the first album. There has been a change of personnel, and this time the album is a single 38 minute piece; chief goat herder Alan Morse Davies describes it as a song cycle, more of which later.

We’re leading with a cassette release for this album; digital formats will be available from our Bandcamp store and selected other platforms. Note that due to the continuous nature of the music, the cassette is single-sided, so the second side is free to do with what you will. We recommend trying to record your favourite tracks from the top forty, but without the DJ’s voice on the intros.

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There are already some excellent reviews of ‘Far Out’ (like Albert E. Trapezoid and Mystic Tape Deck which both brilliantly capture the spirit of Far Out, but if clicking on those links is way too tricky, here’s the SBC take: Far Out is like a journey, or perhaps a trip (remember kids, drugs are bad!) where you’ll encounter found sounds, shimmering ambient canvasses, complete songs, bent circuitry, all overlapping and merging, occasionally crystallizing into focus before disappearing from view and being replaced with something new. It’s experimental, but accessible, Dadaist but emotional. Go with the flow, let it wash over you, drink deep and you’ll discover a truly unique work of art.

Available at special pre-order prices here.

 

News from the Conning Tower: t.r. hand and Glauber K. de Souza

Ah, autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitlessness. Our release for the tail end of September is ‘Suburban Solitude’ from our resident mystic t.r. hand in collaboration with Glauber K. de Souza of the Amao Quartet.

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The album contains the field recordings and sound collages you’ve come to expect from t.r hand, but taken in new directions with electro-acoustic instrumentation from Glauber K.S.

It’s a meditative and subtle work, one that demands to be listened to at length; a soundscape that needs to envelop you and move you.

We’re delighted that this work has already picked up a positive reception; most of the tracks are too long to be radio-friendly but this album will reward the listener that seeks it out.

As with the previous t.r. hand album, we’re delighted to offer this album in both digital and physical editions. Suburban Solitude is available from our merch store as a deluxe book/CD package, designed by the radical design collective Glove of Bones. As you can see, it’s a beautiful thing.

 


In other news, we have some groovy stuff still to come this year. A very special album by Hans Castrup, new work from Leaving Richmond and Whettman Chelmets and the sophomore album from GOATS. Come get some!

News from the Conning Tower: June releases

After the madness that was May, it has been a blessed relief to release a mere two albums in June, but blimey Charlie, what a pair of albums they are!

First out of the traps was the second installment of Martin Neuhold & Friends ‘Dialogue’ series, cunningly entitled ‘Dialogue 2’. Like the first Dialogue album, these pieces were initially solo improvisations recorded by Martin as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM); these were then added to, remixed and repurposed by a veritable phalanx of leading ambient and experimental musicians. Artists on this album include Cousin Silas, Jaime Munarriz, Wilfried Hanrath, Volker Lankow and many more.

As with the first volume, Dialogue 2 is available as download or CD and all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

 


Our other new release in June was ‘Irresistible Forces’, our debut release for the renowned sound designer and electronic musician, Andrulian. As with several of our roster, Andrulian’s music has a healthy disrespect for genres, but if we had to call it we’d say ‘Irresistible Forces’ straddles the ambient/dark ambient/experimental categories.

Andrulian’s work is big on atmospheres, textures and details, and this album uses these to great effect on a collection of pieces, some of which are unsettling to the point of scariness. Perhaps listen with an adult initially.

The album has been picking up great reviews and some significant plays on influential web radio shows, so do lend it your ears.

‘Irresistible Forces’ is available to purchase from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

News from the Conning Tower: New Release Round-Up

It’s been super busy here at SBC for the past month or so, and we have snuck out a few releases with relatively little fanfare nor ballyhoo. So, let’s rectify that straight away.

Back at the beginning of May, we released the debut EP from the immensely talented singer/songwriter Sil Fiore, who performs under the name Sibilla. Here at SBC we pride ourselves on the variety on offer on our smorgasbord of delights, and Sibilla’s debut EP serves up some first-class songwriting, powerful blues-tinged emotive vocals and top musicianship, all with a slight lo-fi alt-pop sensibility. There’s also a blistering, ground-up reworking of the Bessie Smith classic ‘Long Old Road’.

 


At the opposite end of the conventional music spectrum is the new EP from We Do Not Exist. We Do Not Exist comprise Alan Morse Davies, of Truck Stop Rent Boy and GOATS fame, and Petridisch (also a one time TSRB collaborator, Bearsuit Records alumni and Vocaloid practitioner). Alan describes the EP as “a journey through challenges”. It’s experimental (as you might expect), but also accessible; it’s meditative, but also unsettling. All proceeds from sales go to Médecins Sans Frontières, so if you don’t buy it you are A Bad Person.

 


Mid-May saw the release of the first of Martin Neuhold & Friends’ Dialogue series. The origin of these pieces were solo improvisations recorded by Martin as part of February Album Writing Month (FAWM) that were then collaborated on by an army of like-minded ambient and experimental musicians.

Martin is the loveliest of people and an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist and we’re so delighted that he’s chosen SBC as the netlabel for this work. There will be another two Dialogue albums released over the next couple of months.

Dialogue 1 is available as download or CD; again, all proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières.

 


The last releases in May were two space-themed albums.

The first of these was  ‘Citadels in Space’ by Dynamo Snackbar.

One of the pleasures of the Klang release was the number of positive comments about the two Dynamo Snackbar tracks (and yes, there are still a few Klang CDs left, but don’t hang around) and this new album is equally brilliant.

Dynamo Snackbar’s music is generally somewhat genre-defying. Comprising two long-form tracks, this album is part krautrock, part space-rock, part prog… if you like Ozric Tentacles, Quark/Levitation-era Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream,  Berlin school synths or Bill Nelson this is going to resonate with you. 


The second of the space-themed releases was ‘Distress Call from Life Raft 13’ by Tim Kays.

This unique album is part ambient meditation and part historical document. Everyone has heard the famous line ‘Houston, we have a problem’; Tim’s album traces the events of the hours that followed Jack Swigert’s fateful words.

Using genuine NASA recordings, juxtaposed against a hypnotic ambient soundscape, Tim’s album works for both active or background listening. Tim’s album is available as a free download.

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.

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.

Review: Ian Haygreen/The Tides Erase All Things

‘The Tides Erase All Things’ is the latest release from Ian Haygreen, self styled “Classically trained pianist who buggers around with electronic music in several genres as the mood fits”. The mood in this instance is revealed in a footnote that indicates this release is ‘Droneseries #1’; it’s a long-form piece comprising a single track weighing in at a stately 43 minutes.

The world of drones is a broad church and I don’t feel we really have the vocabulary yet to properly describe and differentiate the various styles and approaches… but if you think that’s going to stop me then we clearly haven’t met. So as far as ‘Tides’ is concerned, this is very much at the ambient and accessible end of the spectrum, so if you are of a nervous disposition and not sure whether drones are for you, don’t worry, there are no road drills or bursts of radio static here.

The piece starts with swirling overtones, synth filters rising and falling, and this motif continues throughout. The piece changes over time, but very gradually, almost glacially slowly.

‘The Tides Erase All Things’ is a thing of fragile beauty; Ian Haygreen’s tides suggest an arctic sea, desolate and remote and cold. The music is largely in a minor key, with several ominous touches; nonetheless the mood is contemplative – danger is there, but alluded to, not signposted. For all the bleakness of the soundscape, the listener’s journey is not downbeat or depressive,  but thoughtful and reflective.

The best way to enjoy ‘Tides’ is to succumb to it, to wallow in it, inhale it. This is music that rewards your investment and your patience; as with much drone/ambient music, it is as much about the texture and the detail as it is about the broad strokes and to fully appreciate the music you should immerse yourself as far as possible.

Put some time aside and listen to this beautiful, moody piece. You can thank me later.

 

Monolith Cocktail review: Post:Soc

Monolith Cocktail’s detailed review of Post:Soc. Definitely +1hp for use of “moiety”.

Monolith Cocktail Blog

NEW MUSIC REVIEW ROUNDUP

WORDS: DOMINIC VALVONA


A somewhat shorter selection but just as much quality and eclecticism, my final roundup of the year includes the cinematic pop and harrowing void explorations of Alpine Those Myriads; the latest compilations from Edinburgh label of alternative and post rock mavericks and sonic explorers, Bearsuit RecordsThe Invisible & Divided Sea, and the altruistic, charity driven Submarine Broadcasting Company’s latest sprawling collection, Post:Soc; the fourth edition of Knitting Factory’s curated Fela Kuti box sets, with albums chosen by that rebel soul songstress and polymath Erykah Badu; and for the first time ever the entire – admittedly small – 1970s recorded oeuvre of one of Cameroon’s leading Gandjal rhythm providers, Hamad Kalkaba and his Golden Sounds band.

Alpine Those Myriads   ‘Visions & Disorders’
See Hear Feel Smell,  out now.

Set adrift out into the void, though…

View original post 3,117 more words

Review: Dream Topography

Rob from SBC and Beltism reviews Argali Records’ new experimental compilation, Dream Topography:

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out I was delighted to have a Beltism track included on this compilation. But let’s pretend I’m impartial and concentrate on the other tracks.

Argali Records is the brainchild of John Lithium (aka Nathan Carter) and continues its reputation for promoting new independent experimental music with this compilation, loosely themed around dreams.

What immediately struck be about this compilation is the variety of artists taking part; in addition to the usual suspects who frequent my quarter of the ambient and experimental nether regions of the Internet, there were several artists completely new to me. And the other notable feature is the quality of the submissions. As we at SBC can testify, you never know what you’re going to get with an open-call compilation, and it’s difficult to please all tastes, so ultimately it’s pretty rare to produce a compilation that doesn’t involve reaching for the Skip button at some point, but the quality on this one is consistently high.

The album opens with one of its most melodic tracks, Cousin Silas’ evocative ‘Fever Dreams’, with its repeated piano motif full of half-memories and yearning. Glove of Bones’ ‘Psychopomp (Fuck Turquoise)’ that follows shortly after is an altogether more disturbing affair – the dreams that inspired this dark and damaged piece were the result of blue cheese and peyote buttons before bedtime. Mean Flow’s ‘Dream Land’ is a short drone, dark but also meditative, unsettling but cleverly textured.

One of my favourite tracks is Ars Sonor’s ‘Shattered Dreams’, a barren haunting soundscape, redolent of winter, possibly a nuclear one. James Lowe’s ‘Transparency One’ continues in the same vein, a fragile and chilling peace which unfolds into a collage of disturbing sounds that would work nicely in a Tarkovsky film.

Jack Hertz’s ‘Half Moon Dream’ is delightfully textured, rich with unnerving sounds drifting in and out of focus; I don’t think this is a particularly happy dream, but to answer Bill Nelson’s question, I’m fairly sure Jack dreams in colour. Jaime Munarriz’s ‘Out of the Dark Zone’ swirls ominous bell-like (campaniform?) sounds, cleverly teasing us that something beautifully melodic, or terrifyingly anarchic, will happen, but much like trying to read a newspaper in a dream, we never get a clear view for long enough to be sure.

Playman54’s music is always a delight, and ‘Ghost Echoes 2’ on this compilation is no exception. I don’t know Colin’s influences, but I often find there is something in his music that makes me think of Harold Budd or Roger Eno; he has a way of making his reverb sound reassuringly expensive, I just want to sink back and wallow in it.

My two favourite tracks on the compilation appear back to back, starting with ‘Liquid Tale of a Dying Star’ by Citiborax. One of the longer tracks on the compilation, this track takes the listener on a journey, reaching a threatening peak midway through, then at the ten minute mark a beautiful and haunting guitar refrain, joined later by scattered analog synth reassures you that it’s all going to be OK and it was only a dream.

The following piece, ‘Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia’ (that’s the single, right there guys) by Sharpen!Strokes is another track that cleverly forms beauty from chaos. Initially suggesting you might be in for seven minutes of harsh noise, the saw waves give way to melodic burst of bleeps and an underpinning of mechanical rhythm. I can’t find the words to do it justice, but it’s genius.

This is a very solid compilation; if you like experimental or dark ambient music, I would strongly recommend this album as you’ll find many tracks that you will want to return to again and again. If you’re new to experimental music, or just experimental-curious, do give this a try; it’s relatively free of white noise and static and packed with ideas and ingenuity. It’s ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp, so you really have no excuse not to own this album.

 

Forthcoming attractions…

Well, delighted to hear that the final track for Post:Soc Post:Script (you know, the third disc of the double album) is nearing completion. This is good news on several fronts: firstly it means the pre-orders can be fulfilled, and that the Post:Soc publicity machine can roll into action and hopefully we’ll raise some money for DePaul International. But also it means that the forthcoming Submarine Broadcasting projects can be announced… yes, projects plural. Musicians and sound designers, watch this space as you won’t want to miss this!

Also, we seem to be very near to signing a new artist to the label, which is terrifically exciting! Not going to say too much as it’s early days and there is some detail to thrash out yet, but fingers and toes are crossed.