Latest Entries »

We Breathe Together

rpo_300Red Planet Orchestra recently released their third album, We Breathe Together. The album marks a distinct evolution in their sound. Aurora Symphony, their debut release was a stunning piece of ethereal ambient and their second album also turned a few heads.

However, We Breathe Together shows that Red Planet Orchestra are striving to produce even more awesome sounds for your listening pleasure.

Red Planet Orchestra are Vince Rees  and Pete Smith. They combine elements of sublime orchestral themes in ambient music and produce astounding work.

We Breathe Together takes this even further. There are many types of ambient styles, but it is not often that artists are able to produce a sound that oozes emotion. Aurora Symphony had it, but their latest work is a positive tour-de-force of emotional ambient music.

The album starts with No Return To The Edge. From the outset it has a strong symphonic feel which has a very serious intent. The delivery is bright and cheerful but intelligently counterbalanced with a mature feeling of subtle melancholy. It’s almost as though you are experiencing the emotions of someone who has attained a worthy goal and is celebrating that, but who also is thinking of some of the trials that occurred along the way. In short, it is no effort to feel as though you are reflecting on the highs and lows of a journey.

This is quite a rare feat.

The rest of the album conveys the same maturity – sometimes dark, always emotional and always grabbing your attention and making you listen. If you enjoy orchestral ambient music, and also have an appreciation for the emotional side of ambient then I cannot recommend this enough. It is excellent.

You can listen to the entire album and purchase it via Bandcamp and there is a video containing an excerpt from the first track available on YouTube.

Have a listen!

pete-rpo_200 Vince rpo_201

Releases from Sound4Good Records, AuralFilms, Phaselock, Garden State, Rumforskning, Elizabeth Veldon, Red Fog and Anyer Quantum

 

A Passage Through Time_12013bc (Don Cook) and William Spivey collaborated on A Passage Through Time, released by Sound4Good Records. Starting with Hiking To Shambala, the album carries you on a journey through varied and really interesting styles. The first track is an energetic piece that leads into Mysterium which is a darker, almost other-worldly and cold track that slowly evolves into something quite different from what it started out as. Lost Again gives a sense of searching, of anxiousness. In Pursuit Of Eden hints at the surreal, then becomes quite contemplative. All in all the tracks are excellent examples of what happens when musicians decide not to conform to the norm and allow their tracks to evolve . Well worth getting.

 

 

 

Phaselock-one_1205Another album that throws off the shackles is Phaselock’s One. These people sound like they are jamming purely for the love of jamming. The first couple of tracks are alive and a sense of being carefree and happy clearly carries over to the listener. The last tracks are ambient and comprise almost melancholic piano work which is quite calming. Catch up with Phaselock on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Prehistoric Tar Pit Music_1206Auralfilms have released a compilation from artists which is causing quite a stir. I mentioned the IAM group that was started on Facebook in my last entry and this album is a direct result of the interest it has generated. The album comprises tracks which the artists consider ambient, but which do not fall within the generally defined boundaries of ambient sub-genres. You can download Prehistoric Tar Pit Music from Auralfilm’s Bandcamp portal. Truly, this is highly recommended and has been praised a lot.

 

 

 

 

Milam_1204I bought a wonderful ambient album from Garden State called Milam. This is another one that stands out from the crowd. The music is lush, warm and seriously good through headphones. Sparkling melodies weave through the album, scintillating the imagination. Awesome stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Fremtiden 1_1202Going back to a darker style of music, Rumforskning’s 2005 release Fremtiden on DataObscura, comprises sparse glitch and dark ambient cleverly melded to produce some stunning soundscapes. You can preview some of the tracks on the release page. Interested? Check this out as well. More info about this duo here.

 

 

 

 

 

maps_1203For those who enjoy minimal ambient work that slowly (and I really do mean slowly), evolves, check out Elizabeth Veldon’s Maps. All of the music I write about is music that is designed to be really listened to – not background music – and this is one of those that deserves your full attention. When I first heard this I was reminded of Eliane Radigue’s work. It is absorbing and completely selfish listening, and again, listen through a quality pair of headphones to pick up all the nuances. Wonderful! Elizabth Veldon’s Facbook page is here.

 

 

 

 

Soundcloud 1_1207Speaking about nuances readers may remember the review I wrote of Red Fog’s Sculpted In Luminol. He has recently released tracks on his Soundcloud page that are to feature in a future DNA Production release. One in particular is a mind-bending piece of work called Above The Storax Sedan Cloud. This track will quite literally shred your conscious perceptions when listened to through a seriously powerful audio system. It will make the hairs stand up :) Red Fog is a master of deep atmosperic drone ambient.

 

 

 

 

Framework of Veneration to the Sun_1208Upping the pace, if you like your trance to be original and fresh and very danceable this is an absolute must. Anyer Quantum’s mix entitled Framework of Veneration to the Sun : Rhythm, Groove and Devotion is available to listen via Mixcloud. Like all his work, this mix comprises top quality trance music that imparts a very positive vibe. Cheer yourself up and give it a listen :)

 

Variety Is The Spice Of Life!

Works from Sombre Soniks, James the Lesser, Cousin Silas, William Spivey and Zreen Toyz, Red Planet Orchestra, Gruener Starr, Mon0, Tuonela, Deep in Dub, Load and Clear, DBS Netlabel, Cyberage Radio and Radio Free Clear Light.

The last six months have seen a staggeringly excellent stream of music pass my way. Following are some of those that I have really enjoyed. Some of this stuff is new and some not so new and comprises, once again, several genres and genre-defying sounds :) Some is free, but where it is not, the cost is very reasonable.

Spice1000-SM1Кфяфсицп is a dark ambient compilation released by Sombre Soniks. 3hrs of truly original sounds designed to evoke all aspects of ‘dark’ music – ambient, ritual etc. I think this is the best dark ambient compilation release of 2012.

 

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM2Road of Verdant Praise by James the Lesser is a dreamy excursion into the realms of idyllic ambient music. Well structured and beautiful, this is tranquil music. Keep up with this artist on Facebook

 

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM3During the last few years I have occassionally come across references to Cousin Silas. Recently, I started to take more notice of this artist and have been amazed by the variety and quality of his work. If you enjoy ambient, beatless music, guitar and piano then you will not be disappointed. He has contributed to two Complex Silence releases (9 and 28) and has a dedicated outlet in the form of the We Are All Ghosts label started by Thomas Mathie which also releases work from other distinguished musicians. You can get an idea of how well respected he is by the recent collaboration Silas & Friends where he works with 6 other artists. Check his music out, it is great!

 

 

Spice1000-SM4Spice1000-SM5Sound4Good continue to release albums from artists who dedicate 100% of the money made to good causes. Some are completely free, and the rest start at $1/pay what you want. Recent releases that really bowled me over include Slant by William Spivey and Zreen Toyz and Aurora Symphony by Red Planet Orchestra. Slant is a magnificent piece of genre-defying work and is one of the best albums I bought in 2012. Aurora Symphony comprises truly beautiful ambient music that really does evoke what an aurora event might look like on Mars! Seriously, I cannot stress how good these are.

 

 

Spice1000-SM6Spice1000-SM7My enjoyment of ‘dark’ music extends to other genres. I am a very big fan of so-called ‘dark techno’ and closely follow the mixes produced by Gruener Starr. I really like the dark (and it is dark) minimal beats that this guy finds and mixes together. You can follow him on his Soundcloud page. A very good and truly dark techno mix that was recently released is that by Mon0. Check out the mix here.

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM8Are you a fan of thick, heavy drone that is highly charged with an awesome atmospheric quality? Get over to Soundcloud and listen to the work of Tuonela and in particular fill your head with Ascension of the Sorcerers. There are several tunes from the Sorcerers’ set: Arrival of, Ascension of, Feast of, Festival of and Return of… Also, don’t miss Magician’s Hat Parts 1-3. I follow much of the work of this artist. His output is varied and the quality is high.

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM12If you are a fan of the laid back dubby, echoey sounds that comprise dub-techno then you will enjoy dipping into the catalogues maintained by Deep in Dub and Load and Clear. Both promote very good dub-techno artists and Deep in Dub’s physical releases include the excellent compilation album Dub Sunset.

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM13Further dub-techno goodness can be found in the podcasts (all music and no chat) released through DBS Netlabel. The podcasts comprise mixes from the likes of Buster, Slownoise, Roberto Figus, IFIHADAHIFI, Substak, Dubstard and others. They are all free to download from DBS Netlabel’s Official FM page. This is the first that was released.

 

 

 

Spice1000-SM9Industrial sounds still make me sit up and listen. A regular radio station that showcases some interesting industrial music is produced by Cyberage Radio. If you want to fill your head with this stuff check out the following Facebook grouphere and here. I was listening to this last weekend and enjoyed it very much.

 

 

Spice1000-SM10Here’s something that Radio Free Clear Light have released – The Labyrinth of Ohgel is a 14 track album comprising several chambers that span a range of styles. There are dark-tinted gems such as the opening track Ohgel, The Chamber of Stone uses the teleporter sound from the original Star Trek series (and uses it intelligently) as part of an ambient voyage, Fountain of Youth begins with a slightly haunting atmosphere that slowly builds into an almost pure digital distilation of what such a fountain might sound like. Overall, a very good album. I’m pleased it came my way (thanks folks!) :)

 

 

Spice1000-SM11Finally, there is an exciting group that has just been created on Facebook called Intelligent Ambient Music. The idea is not to bring together so-called ‘intelligent’ music, but to bring together musicians whose work falls outside the presently defined genres but who use ambient as a component in their art. Intelligent Ambient Music is a concept and is not really intended to be a defining genre. Use the group to discuss your work and to suggest or promote work that you feel falls within the concept of IAM. Read about it here.

There’s a lot more, but I will save them for a later post :)

Awesome albums, artists and labels

Wow – there has been a lot of really good ambient, dark ambient and techno sounds released recently. Read and listen…

Ambient and Dark Ambient

I recently discovered Philip Wilkerson’s The Way Home from Earth Mantra. This is wonderful idyllic ambient music. Some stuff reaches out to you and that is what you’ll experience with this. Emotional.

 

 

 

 

Cryo Chamber has released Out Of Time by Halgrath. This was a surprise as the emphasis is upon the music rather than Agratha’s classically trained voice, which, as ever, is awesome :) Dark and mysterious, the album is best summed up by a brilliant video available on Vimeo

 

 

 

 

Bardoseneticcube and Thelxinoe worked on a split which has some excellent dark vibes reverberating through it. Very atmospheric. Released by DNA Production.

 

 

 

 

Earlyguard is another artist I recently discovered who produces long form ambient drone sprinkled with delicious sounds designed to please the ears. Momentum is essential listening for ambient lovers.

 

 

 

 

Playing catch-up again I found Alio Die’s Cube 7 – Sospensione D’Estate. Dreamy vibes available from various outlets. This is orchestral ambient with a strong contemplative element.

 

 

 

 

Úden’s Ruinas comprises skeletal dark ambient soundscapes. Released via Kalpamantra, the album is best appreciated through headphones as there are some very quiet moments.

 

 

 

 

Another Kalpamantra release features Alphaxone’s Invisible. Ambient drones and other vibes reach out and populate the space between your ears, filling your head with electronic goodness. My favourite track is Echoes.

 

 

 

 

Starting to move into the realms of more experimental ambient I was bowled over ny Another Neglected Hobby’s Lingo Tango. This is excellent ‘picture’ music – literally. The album was inspired by the works of Ed Paschke and it is easy to equate the music with the art. Top job!

 

 

 

 

Webbed Hands Records’ Rain Series continues with long form contributions from Eccentrum and Jack Hertz. This series contains some very good works, but both of these really stand out. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

Techno

The last couple of saturday mornings I have managed to catch Anyer Quantum’s Mixlr sets. Last week was an 8 hour epic and this morning’s broadcast was full of very cool sounds. I really like Anyer’s sets because he is not afraid to slow the pace down or move away from mainstream sounds. Quality! Catch up with him on Facebook and listen to his selections from Hoof and Horns and Soundcloud to get an idea of the sort of music he enjoys.

 

 

 

 

Still on Techno, Point has released another minimal techno album called Waveform on Digital Diamonds. Slightly different to Point, this is more exploratory in nature and will have your body rocking in no time at all :)

 

 

 

 

Labels

For those of you who like your ambient music and who have varied tastes, check out Stars Can Frighten. This is aimed at artists creating more experimental music and Kiril Platonkin kicks off with Irregularity (also, check out Kiril’s collaboration with Italy’s Jarguna on Endless Ascent). Out on a limb!

 

 

 

 

Sound For Good Records releases a lot of music under a pay-what-you-like basis, including free. Every single penny goes to a good cause. They have a very impressive range of styles including dark ambient, ambient, experimental, psychedelic and space music. The Space Music compilation alone contains over 14 hours of great sounds!

Dark Ambient Journeys

Emptywhale : Fearscapes

Fearscapes is one of those albums where you close your eyes and suddenly realise you are no longer sat in front of your speakers. Track 1, ‘Fields’ drops you in an empty, open and lonely expanse, the terrain has been blasted, nothing grows here. Five tracks of emotive, melancholic dark ambient that will transport you to different realms for 35mins. Available through HAZE via Archive.org

Instant Pyrolysis : The Asylum

Valenten’s album is a triumph of intelligently crafted dark ambient music. Those lucky enough to get the limited edition will also enjoy a lot of bonus material along with the signed album. This moves well beyond the usual DA fare. It is directed along a narrow path, but the diversity of the sounds is astounding. One of the better dark ambient albums that has been released this year.

IOK-1 : That Which Remains Is Silence

I am a huge fan of IOK-1 and listening to That Which Remains Is Silence is, like listening to all his music, an immersive experience. David has the rare ability to create music that is skeletal in content, but which is so well made and produced that you quite literally feel you are hanging in space – there is nothing to impede these sparse sounds from impacting every sense you own. Download it from Etched Traumas

Subterrestrial : Lifeform

Subterrestrial recently re-released two albums for free. One was the dub-themed Agartha (another of my favourite genres), and the other was an ambient excursion into nature called Lifeform. Subterrestrial is an accomplished artist whose work varies enormously. When you listen to Lifeform you are struck by the melding of different genres and emotions that combine to create a very listenable and enjoyable piece of music. Light and dark, airy ambience and subtle menace, abstract sounds and electronic noise are all used to illustrate Lifeform.

Dirty Knobs : Ghost Geometry

I really enjoy ambient music, especially long-form drone, but what really makes me take notice is when that music is atmospheric/cinematic. This has it in spades. If you were watching someone conduct this it would be a very dramatic performance, not through the vigour of the conductor, but through the atmosphere that is generated.

Ghost Geometry by Dirty Knobs comprises 4 hours of atmospheric drone. The album is rich and vibrant : imagine walking into a cathedral on another plane of existence while the musicians are checking out the acoustics. Imagine long, sustained notes building up, layered on top of each other, flowing across the floor, slowly lapping up against the walls and flowing back straight at you. Imagine this blocking out everything, deadening all other sounds until you can hear nothing but Ghost Geometry. If you could see sound this would be like watching a viscous liquid slowly filling a space as the sound increased and changed.

As with most long form drone, changes are subtle and slow to occur. I think one of the reasons I enjoy listening to this so much is because Ghost Geometry is a single long form piece of music that has been ‘divided’ into 7 chapters. Listening to it without reference, one is unable to tell where the majority of the tracks begin and end because the change between them is subtle and unhurried. Nevertheless, each track has its own unique quality.

I know I use this expression a lot, but this is ‘journey music’. It fills the imagination – not with specific imagery but with a sense of place, a sense of environment. As you listen to it you gradually become aware that although the start of the album is filled with rich, deep resonating sounds, the mood gradually lightens as the album progresses. Near the end of the piece you experience ethereal spaces filled with liquid light that contrast with the darker, almost orchestral heavy areas near the start where behemoths lurk and prowl.

Overall, layers of sound gradually build up, raising the intensity of the album. The music takes on an inexorable quality. Parts of it seem to rush at you, building up the pressure, then receding, then rushing at you again, tides of sound enveloping you, picking you up and depositing you on strange shores.

So, who is Dirty Knobs? This is the music of Zac Bentz, an accomplished musician and a man of many talents. Zac was kind enough to answer a few questions about Ghost Geometry. Ghost Geometry follows on Field Recordings From The Edge Of Hell, an 8hr epic that uses the same method of transforming electronic sounds, stretching them to produce long form drone. I used the term orchestral above because when I listen to this, it certainly has that feeling, and I thought perhaps an organ had been used after the ‘stretching’ transformation. I asked Zac if this was the case and he said the sound you hear is entirely the result of the stretching effect.

I think that’s largely a result of the process. I use many different layers of sound throughout each song, then work on stretching them out to see what happens to them. Certain qualities of sound work better than others, so it’s a bit of trial and error to get something that sounds right (for lack of a better word). The feeling that it often sounds like an organ might come from those long, sustained notes and the sort of slow modulation that occurs. But in fact the original sounds are totally electronic and rather unlike organs.”

I think that’s amazing. So, is this process an easy thing to accomplish? Apparently not. From previous interviews it is obvious that there is quite a bit of trial and error involved at the start of the creation of the album, and that the process gradually becomes honed, producing this excellently atmospheric work.

When I litened to Ghost Geometry, I had not heard Field Recordings From The Edge Of Hell. I had to get it, and after listening to it, it is quite apparent that although both albums are similar, they are in fact also quite unique. The biggest difference is that FRFTEOH contains separate, distinguishable tracks. Also, and this was quite interesting, Zac said that the naming of the tracks on Ghost Geometry was designed to be deliberately vague – meaning that the names are sufficiently surreal that the listener can create their own world and populate it as they wish. This is the main difference between the two albums. When you listen to FRFTEOH, it is easy to see why the tracks are named as they are. The Locust Eaters contains a continual metallic rushing as of millions of tiny wings, The Minotaur’s Breath contains exhalations that are strange enough that it is easy to imagine a minotaur at rest. When you listen to Ghost Geometry, the imagination is not constrained by recognisable labels, but can roam free, counjuring anything it fancies to fit the music – the track names help promote this freedom of the imagination. Zac said:

After Field Recordings from the Edge of Hell, I wanted to simplify things a bit, make something that was more like one whole piece rather than separate scenes. I also wanted it to be a bit more vague and imposing, so the song titles are rather arbitrary, though I did put some thought into them. To me, these songs evoke images of huge shapes rolling through an ethereal space, so the idea that they were some sort of otherworldly architecture evolved from that. It’s more like feeling the geometry rather than seeing it, if that makes any sense…

From the release page:

Ghost Geometry is four unbroken hours of sub-harmonic oppression and walls of melodic haze. Using techniques both new and old, Ghost Geometry is a cloud of expansive architecture exploding into our physical world.

If you really wanted to go for it, listen to FRFTEOH followed by Ghost Geometry – 12hrs of amazing music – they fit together rather well.

Field Recordings From The Edge Of Hell

 Zac Bentz

Honourable Mention 2

Listen to some of these – ambient, minimal techno, dub-techno, dark ambient, downtempo, drone… Some very good albums here. If I had the time I’d write a lot more. Ctrl+click on the image to open the download/purchase page in a new tab.

Tillman Slayer – Chiquandella Street – Orignal experimental ambient music.

 

 

 

 

Giriu Dvasios – Visa – Very deep Dub-Techno

 

 

 

 

Dan Miñoza – Winter Kept Us Warm – Dark industrial ambient longform. Technological dounds…

 

 

 

 

The Circular Ruins – Invisible Cities – Clean clear shimmering ambient

 

 

 

 

Point – Deepending – Quality groovy techno

 

 

 

 

Smooth Genestar – Rem Phase – Warm comfortable downtempo sounds.

 

 

 

 

Sandwell District – Feed Forward – Excellent smooth techno rhythms. These tunes are mature and well rounded.

 

 

 

 

SlowNoise – The Cold Ground – Superb heady dub-techno that’s heavy on the dub. Spacious!

 

 

 

Giriu Dvasios – Ziema – Dub Techno with deep bass textures. Subliminal!

 

 

 

 

Reptilian Fur – Compilation album featuring many types of ambient to suit all moods.

 

 

 

 

Kirill Platonkin – Pines At Sunset – quality dense drone ambient from Russia!

 

 

 

 

Wings Of An Angel – In My Darkest Dreams – Massive ambient/dark ambient album. Some very long form tracks totalling 4hrs!

 

 

 

 

Aythar’s Soundcloud profile – Lots of great electronic mesmerising ambience. Very good sounds! Check out Aythar and Aythar3 too.

 

 

 

 

Red Fog – Anthracite Winter Over The Lidocaine River – From Paralucid – another great ambient drone album with a sprinkling of dark ambient too…

 

 

 

 

i AM esper – Floating Black – More guitar work from New Brunswick soon to be released on Vomit Bucket Productions and Depressive Illusions Records

 

 

 

 

The Beyond are presently Rob Warner and Uwe D’Rose. Rob Warner started The Beyond in 1986 when the band originally comprised Rob Warner, Matt Russel and Nick Ralph. They released Episcense in 1987, and tracks from this still appear on YouTube. According to their Bio (see below), several CD’s were released and then the band stopped making music. A couple of years ago The Beyond was reinvigorated through the collaborative work between Rob Warner and Uwe D’rose when they released a new album called Exploring Imagined Spaces.

According to Rob Warner ‘every track includes a base frequency that effects the listener in a different way’. More on this later. It’s all about soothing, pleasant atmospheres. If you want to relax, listen to Exploring Imagined Spaces.

The album begins with 528hz Ascension. The gentle sound of waves sussurating from the speakers introduce this track. A synth voice gently flows over them while a light melody supports the ensemble. About half-way through a short classic ‘Berlin Style’ synth melody makes a brief appeareance, picking up the pace slightly before fading. Bright and airy. Following on from this is Memories Like Dust which begins with a melancholy piano. Light melodies gently wash across the background resulting in a sad, quite evocative tune that epitomises the ephemeral nature of memories and how flimsy they become over time.

The third track, Under Ancient Skies comprises a wonderful bit of guitar work that evokes a mystical Eastern paradise. Uwe D’Rose’s guitar work dominates this track with long drawn out echoing melodies with an unmistakable Eastern flavour. A male voice from long ago softly chants phrases from some forgotten language. The Alchemist, which follows on from this is great. Music like drops of ambient fall around you, bouncing around and gently settling . The essence of this track is ‘relax’. It truly flows with such a relaxing style that you’ll want to close your eyes and smile. It enourages laziness :) Just lay back and put your feet up.

The Innerworlds is a beautiful uplifting ambient track that echoes with a bright scattering of minimal guitar, sparkling and lazy. The Big Freeze is a reserved piece of music – slow and contemplative, hinting at sadness while Flo, the final track, darts brightly here and there to a light tempo with not a care in the world.

Overall this is a true synthesis of keyboards and guitar. They work so well together that the whole is a masterpiece of sound. An amazing ambient album that uses Solfeggio frequencies as indicated by the title of the opening track.  These tones were supposedly used centuries ago in Gregorian and Sanskrit chants (though there is no concrete evidence for this – if anyone does have any references let me know and I’ll add them), and were believed to impart spiritual blessings during religious ceremonies. One thing is for certain, the overall effect is one of peace and relaxation. Get it. This album is guaranteed to work magic.

Buy the album from the dedicated online shop and you get an extra 25 minutes of music comprising The Innerworlds, The Big Freeze and Flo.

The Beyond are the other side of Harkonnen. You can read a short bio of The Beyond here where you will find further information and photos.

Harkonnen : Harkonnen

Harkonnen’s eponymous album is a gem. There are two versions available. The version for sale on the Harkonnen website includes nearly an hour of bonus material taken from a rare live performance. Buy it anywhere else and you’ll just get the studio tracks.

Harkonnen are Rob Warner and Uwe D’rose. Rob plays synths and Uwe plays guitars. These two guys have produced an amazing album where all the music flows around a common theme. When asked, Uwe says that both he and Rob were in one mind as to what the finished product would sound like. It shows. This is a well performed, well laid out album. Rob Warner was responsible for the technical and production duties and has done an excellent job. Uwe describes Harkonnen as the ‘other side’ of Beyond.

Harkonnen opens with a scorching track called Rise Of The Machines that employs some amazing gutar work. The riffs used here are deep and menacing, the sort of sound you would associate with the implacable will of a mechanised construct. Awesome. Age Of The Machines is similar – powerful music with gritty lead guitar, but which is a celebration of all things industrial and robotic.

Ghosts In The Bitstream uses a soft lead to evoke a sense of loss – lead guitar creating a melancholic drone. The sound, though, is still within the Harkonnen recipe. (R)age Of The Machines starts gently then drops you back into a harsh industrial environment with plenty of twisted lead and awesome riffs.

All Human Is Error makes an unequivocal statement. Humans? Who needs them!

The Last Robot and The Final Sunset have a certain melancholy. The drones in The Final Sunset evoke a beautiful image of the sun setting, but you know that it will never be appreciated by the mechanised society over which it sets.

The Machines (Live) is a showcase of what lead guitar can sound like when done well. The lead overlays a rich synthesised background and the two harmonise very well. When you listen to the live tracks on the extended version of the album (remember – only available from the Harkonnen website), you may not realise that what you are hearing is the work of Rob Warner on his own. He plays everything. There are three live tracks, two longform at about 20mins (The Man In The High Castle Pts 1 and 2), separated by a shorter track named The Machines which is rich with plenty of guitar work. The Man In The High Castle Pt 2 begins with robotic murmurings and quickly becomes quite dark, lending it a tense atmosphere. This is maintained when a rythmic pulse gently creeps up on you, and the voices occassionally become louder and more ominous. The track is a showcase for deep minimal mechanical noises put together to create a powerful dark industrial soundscape. Man In The High Castle (Part 2) live is original dark ambient synth style. This is a classy piece of music and ends the album beautifully.

Rob and Uwe have worked together on various projects for 35 years and it shows in this album. The elements harmonise very well, the live performance is excellent, and the album has a common theme throughout. When you hear any particular track from the album you can most definitely recognise it as being ‘Harkonnen’. It varies from full-on melodic lead, awesome synths and gentle drone. There are classic elements of electronica here too, particularly in All Human Is Error, where the voice reading the charge appears to emanate from some kind of Orwellian mechanoid. The album is inexorable. The tracks march on, effortlessly overcoming all obstacles. Production is excellent, especially on the live tracks – everything is clear and stands out.

I’ve played this album many times and it really appeals to me. If you enjoy classic lead guitar, great riffs, marvellous and original synth sounds, and if you prefer your albums to play around a common theme, then this is definitely for you. I can’t recommend this enough!

Rob Warner is presently working on three other projects: The Beyond (With Uwe), BROADKAST (an industrial dance project) and the record label/sample library Ambient Source. He is also part of an as yet unnamed elctro-acoustic ethnic folk project. Uwe D’rose is the guitarist in Landmarq who have just released a double CD and will be playing various UK dates this year.

Last February Waiting World Records released Like Hemlock by Dan Miñoza  & M. Peck.

Just over one hour of music begins with Bloodwood, a silken track with organic sounds accompanying synths and a base drone that carries it along. The track hints at innocence, before descending into a dark landscape before it finishes. The dark ending of Bloodwood prepares the listener for the tense start of Kapala – something ominous this way definitely comes. As Kapala progresses, industrial sounds are introduced, hinting at some mechanical process.

The amazing dark ambient sounds that comprise Atlantia are deep and bassy. Rising and falling, the track pulses with a palpable atmosphere that places you in some scary environment. The track develops very slowly, with just the occassional sound of something being moved about, scraped along the wall or being torn. A great track that is tense and forbidding.

The slow extended distortion that introduces Mara rapidly develops into an intriguing piece of music that is the essence of strange. This is as close to ‘noise’ as the album gets, and the stereo panning with delay effects on this makes it a must for the headphones. The track is in no way unstructured, and it will certainly transport you to a strange place.

Redjinnerate has a great atmosphere that incorporates both light ambience and darker layers. It is difficult to pull off tracks that merge light and dark aspects but this one definitely succeeds. Dejinnerate, on the other hand is a wonderful piece of light airy ambience. It shimmers with an Eastern flavour and uses light synth sounds to create a bright atmosphere that is uplifting and relaxing.

The title track is excellent. Organic sounds overlay a strange landscape. Underlying drones provide an edgy backdrop to a track that becomes cinematic. Sometimes syncopated, the music here is rich and varied and finishes on a very smooth ambient note.

Like Hemlock succeeds in presenting mixture of ambient compositions ranging from tense, dark and sometimes industrial imaginings through to bright light pieces. A varied piece of work which maintains a very high quality throughout. The tracks evolve slowly, their minimalist style contributing to a professional piece of work. You won’t go far wrong by purchasing this.

Listen to more of Dan Miñoza’s work and collaborations here. You can hear more of Michael Peck’s sounds here

Official Press Release:

The debut album from Dan Miñoza and M. Peck is a masterwork of isolated kinetics, turgid textures and vast dynamics drawing the listener in with stark minimalism and dark ambient atmospheres coupled with sparse sound design.  

These collected works were inspired by the novelist Charles Bukowski and photographer Sally Mann, from whom both Miñoza and Peck draw much influence. The album was recorded from August 2011 through December 2011, then later mixed and mastered by Peck at Audio Propulsion Labs in January of 2012. The result is an intimate voyage into the abyss with two of today’s most diverse independent ambient musicians.