Archives for posts with tag: ambient

Strathcona pl EPFollowing on from “seams” from the mysterious stratchcona pl, shared here back at the end of March carrying the promise of an EP some time in the future… here is that 4 track EP

“holds and releases” is an oddly wonderful lyrical puzzle floating within a musical skeleton of acoustic guitar + voice + ambient sounds + occasional drums. Just listen:

Once again; so now we know everything, and yet we still know nothing at all.

 

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nhung-nguyen“Bittersweet” is one of 7 tracks on a new EP called “An Ordinary Narrative” by Hanoi based musician/ composer Nhung Nguyen.

Nhung Nguyen creates atmospheric ambient instrumental music combining acoustic and electronic instruments along with field recordings. This new EP “An Ordinary Narrative” continues a recent theme of using piano as the sole instrument. The simplicity and minimalism may be “an ordinary narrative” but it is heavy with echoes of a ghostly, partially remembered past.

The piano is a perfect universal instrument for conveying a sense of memory,  as well as feelings of nostalgia, regret, happiness, hope… whatever we project on, or draw out of each recording.

The use of field recordings of public pianos, sometimes with their own imperfect out-of-tune character, and then post-production adding the reverb and delay adds to the dream-like nature of these pieces. The magic here is not so much the moment each note is struck but what happens in the space that follows, before the next note arrives.

In “Bittersweet” the occasional background of street noise from passing cars grounds the music at an unknown place and in a point of time. It adds to the atmosphere, the imperfection and to the intrigue. It’s a bit like the music equivalent of watching a flickering old Super-8 film home movie projected onto sun-faded wallpaper.

 

 

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Photo credit: Imogen Wilson for iD AUNZ

Peach Milk‘s EP “Finally”, is a perfect introduction to new electronic musician/ producer Madison Eve from Auckland. It’s part Euro-dance/ post-dance music, part ambient electronica as the opening track “Flight Instinct” demonstrates:

The whole EP is superbly tasteful in the sounds and the moods created, the sheen and shimmer of the synth washes, the understated beats, and the icy ambient minimalism.

When vocals appear they are injected into the ether, a presence rather than anything direct, dancing through atmosphere of the music like ghostly spirits.

It’s what Peach Milk leaves out that gives the music on the “Finally” EP the space to set the mind free to wander and imagine.

There’s a song-by-song break down interview with Peach Milk on the EP on The Wireless if you want to dig a little deeper into the stories behind the music.

 

img_7756Been away, enjoying the tail-end of a British summer, hence the lack of posts here for the past 6 weeks. On a visit to Kew Gardens in London a week ago The Hive caught my attention and imagination. The installation seen above incorporates a surround sound ambient drone connected to the activity in the nearby beehives.

The Hive is a structure inspired by scientific research into the health of bees. Designed by UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress, it was originally created as the centre-piece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. The music on the Soundcloud link following the video  below is from an album recorded to accompany The Hive at the expo.

The music below is not the same as the ambient drone you hear in The Hive installation, but it uses some of the same sounds and drones. Standing inside (or nearby) The Hive is a unique experience, and highly recommended to lovers of drone, ambient and experimental music, as well as lovers of bees.

“This four-track album imagines the sound of British summertime as heard by one of the most important members of the animal kingdom – the bee. A hypnotic conceptualisation of the life, work and living environment of the bee, “One” is a truly transcendental record – think Spacemen 3 recording a series of 21st century outdoor ragas for Touch Records and you’re somewhere in the right direction.”

“One” features Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) and Aniima – the string section who record with Sigur Ros – along with several other musicians. There’s a more detailed description if you click through to the Caught by the River Soundcloud.

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Estere

Day 28 of NZ Music Month is a re-mix of a track from Wellington producer/ composer/ vocalist Estere. Here’s the heavily atmospheric “Culture Clash (Encouragement Remix)”

This remix takes a completely different approach to the rhythm and atmosphere of the original song on Estere’s 2014 album. It is more of a dance plus ambient re-imagining and it works on so many levels from club banger to atmospheric soundscape while retaining the soulful heart of Estere’s vocal.

All the remixes on this “New Species Remix EP” are adventurous re-interpretations, so if you enjoyed Estere’s self-titled 2014 album, explore this further.

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Summer Isles from Achiltibuie, on the Coigach coast of North-Western Scotland.

There’s not much traditional folk featured PopLib, but there have been a few examples ambient soundscape music featured. The atmospheric “A Tanera Talisman” from Scottish folk composer and multi-instrumental musician Mairearad Green works just as well as an evocative soundscape as it does a haunting example of neo-classic Celtic folk.

“A Tanera Talisman” is from a new album out last week called “Summer Isles”.

If you get up past Ullapool on the North Western coast of Scotland (and not many people do) and turn left down a single track road you’ll eventually come to the end of the road at Achiltibuie and look out over the Summer Isles.

It’s a magical place, usually wet, cold and windy, but occasionally looking as it does in the photo above and on this video for the song:

Mairearad Green is from Achiltibuie but lives in Glasgow. The journey between the two places was the inspiration for her multi-part composition “Passing Places” written for performance at the 2009 Celtic Connections Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nhung Nguyen

Playing David Bowie’s “Low” last week I got lost again in that second side of sweeping cinematic instrumentals. Those paths lead me back to Brian Eno’s “Music For Films” and the Fripp & Eno album “Evening Star” – but also started me off exploring forward to an ever-expanding universe of imaginary worlds created by new generations of musicians working with ambient music, combining instrument sounds, field recordings and textures. Here’s one stellar recent example of that universe from Hanoi, Vietnam musician/ sound artist Nhung Nguyen.

It is almost impossible to pick just one track, but “Evergreen” – hinting as much of early Tangerine Dream as much as ambient Eno – is as good an entry point as any.

Continue on to listen to the whole collection, particularly “For June (Forever Summer)” with its glorious combination of field recordings of birdsong mingling with other-worldly hypnotic chiming.

Her latest release “Music For Quiet Souls” is different again, taking a minimal piano composition approach, like an experimental Erik Satie ‘Gymnopedies’ collection, but mixing field recordings with the delay-effect piano.

So impressed by these works I’ve just bought the full digital discography.