Category: ambient music

New Video: Old Man of the Woods Releases a Gorgeous and Meditative Visual for “Dissolve”

Miranda Elliott is a Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter, producer and creative mastermind behind the lo-fi, ambient pop project Old Man of the Woods. Elliott describes her creative process as the alchemy of shit into sustenance, deriving the project’s name after a dark, scruffy mushroom that survives by — well, turning shit into sustenance. Interestingly, Elliott’s Old Man of the Woods debut, last year’s Dissolve EP according to Various Small Flames’ Jon Doyle “blurs the line between the personal and the natural world, conjuring a vivid and sometimes eerie soundscape as damp and rich as the woodland floor.”

Elliot’s forthcoming Old Man of the Woods’ full-length debut is slated for release later this year. In the meantime, the Richmond-based artist has managed to be rather busy; her Dissolve Remixed EP marks the first time she has collaborated with others: Richmond-based artists monad and OK HUNNEYS, as well as Totally Real Records labelmates SUPERORDER contribute remixes of Dissolve EP material.

Along with that she has collaborated with Roman Betanzos and Gabriel Güieros, visual effect artists based in Vancouver and Montreal on the video for Dissolve EP’s title track “Dissolve.” As for the song, “Dissolve” is a slow-burning and meditative track centered around Elliott’s plaintive vocals and atmospheric synths that — to me, at least — seems to evoke mist gently rising in the forest.

The recently released video can trace its origins back to when Betanzos and Güieros reached out to Elliot through Bandcamp, detailing how “Dissolve” to them sounded like the coastline of British Columbia. Interestingly, the video follows a humanoid wisp of mist through a lush and damp forest landscape, much like the ones seen in the Pacific Northwest. For Elliot, it reminded her of a surreal hike in Berlin, where she had actually forgotten that she wasn’t in Virginia and took note that “all woods feel like home.”

New Video: London Duo Tullamarine Releases a Haunting and meditative Visual for “Then Billy Said”/”What Billy Said Next”

London-based electronic duo, Tullamarine — British-born writer/producer Adam Young and Kiwi-born, London-based writer/producer Joss Arrmitage — features two accomplished artists, who have been friends for over 20 years, but who have long created separately — until 2015 when the duo formed their latest, collaborative project through the fog of late-night conversations and half-formed ideas.

Inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, the duo’s initial idea behind the project was to creatively push each other through experimentation and remote collaboration, with the hopes of bettering their respective music. Sharing two, four or even eight-bar snippets, and never working physically together in the same studio, the duo saw ideas gradually form and organize themselves into symbiotic designs of experimental production. Interestingly, they had no prearranged agenda, no pre-determined style; they went where each track took them in an intuitive fashion.

The duo’s intuitive process shouldn’t be surprising: Young, who’s an expert int twisting and shaping audio found and Armitage, whose style is defined by a deep and abiding love of synths quickly found a natural fit that came together through a shared production and writing approach. Initially. tracks were guided by Young or Armitage, but rarely both. But by the time the released And So We Followed Her Blindly Into The Sun EP there was a marked shift in their creative process, with the duo collaborating much more while revealing influences from the likes of Nils Frahm, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and a lot of nights at The Barbican.

With the October 20120 release of the three-song Stratosphere EP, Young and Armitage firmly established their sound, one that’s an assertive, melancholic soundscape. Continuing where Stratosphere EP left off, the emerging British electronic duo’s 17 track album Frequency, allows listeners to further experience their complex and unique soundscape, which evokes memories of clubbing, to more expansive and meditative material, interspersed with beat work that brings 90s alternative hip-hop and IDM. Interestingly, Frequency’s latest single “Then Billy Said”/”What Billy Said” is an expansive track with a meditative piano-led introduction before quickly transforming into a trance-inducing section featuring skittering beats, shimmering synth arpeggios that slowly builds up tempo — but while being an exercise in tense restraint without release. Adding to the eerily cinematic feel of the song, get composition focuses on Billy, a bewildered fictional character, created by the duo’s Joss Armitage, who had conflicted relationships with women since his mother died when he was a young boy.

Directed by WIlliam Glass, the recently released video for “Then Billy Said”/”What Billy Said” is an achingly nostalgic dream that stars Lilly Ashley as a sort of distorted and romanticized image of someone’s late mother. Throughout the video, Ashley’s mother-like figure holds a fish balloon, which the duo and the video’s director explains is meant to embody both the child and childhood. Of course, at some point, the woman eventually decides to let her balloon go. So the video alludes to the innocent and playful mother, and to death — with the tacit understanding that death is a part of it all.

New Video: JeGong Releases a Slow-Burning and Meditative Visual for Atmospheric “Sowing dragons Teeth”

JeGong is a new krautrock-inspired, experimental act featuring MONO (Japan)’s and Watter’s Dahm Majuri Cipolla (drums) and Sum of R.’s Reto Mäder (synths). Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Pelagic Records, the duo’s 14 song full-length album I reportedly finds the band using krautrock to push themselves, and their songwriting approach into new territories — with the album’s material featuring elements of ambient, experimental rock, krautrock, post rock and electronica. The end result is an album centered around ambient soundscapes and repetition that sounds like the soundtracks to Blade Runner and Metropolis.

The album was written and recorded remotely with Mäder recording instrumental parts at Hinterzimmer in Bern, Switzerland and Cipolla recording drums at BC Studio with Martin Bisi, where it was partially mixed. Additional mixing took place in Finland with Jaakko Vitalähde.

“Sowing Dragons Teeth,” I’s latest single is a minimalist, slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around repeating shimmering synth lines, taut yet propulsive drumming, gurgling and hissing feedback and subtle blasts of guitar. The track sounds as though it should be part of John Carpenter-like movie soundtrack — but while featuring subtly morphing throughout the entire song, “We wanted to have a song that is constantly changing in form and density. A song structure like a maelstrom or a growing plant focusing on our two main instruments, analog synthesizers and drums, the members of JeGong explain in press notes. “The theme of the song goes well with the film scene in Blade Runner 2049, in which a meager little flower in a field of ashes becomes a sign of hope.”

The recently released video for “Sowing Dragons Teeth” is the second part of a trilogy focused don a dystopian world that collapses and is eventually recreated by another species with a monolith as a memorial for the previous world.

New Video: Kaituhi Teams Up with Napkey on a Nostalgia Inducing Single

Kévin Vergobbi is a classically trained, French multi-instrumentalist and producer, who first started off playing with several different rock bands including PHOTO, MS&TW and currently BALM. Vergobbi’s solo recording project Kaituhi, which means “the scribe” finds the French multi-instrumentalist and producer creating work that’s a decided departure from his previously recorded output — centered around a much more melancholic emotional range, the project specializes in escapist and ambient synth pop. 

Vergobbi’s seven song, Benjamin Cholet and Augustin Bretillard-co-produced EP Taratahi is slated for a September 2020 release through Pschent Music. “Divine,” Taratahi’s latest single is a slow-burning and cinematic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and Justine Rousseau’s plaintive and ethereal vocals. At its core, is an achingly wistful nostalgia for something that seemed much simpler and peaceful. 

The recently released video is set around a very simple concept: an old Commodore 64-like computer in some overgrown grasses. And on the screen, we see various space missions — although at one point, everything turns into wild psychedelic colors: the grass turns purple and then switches back to its normal color. 

 

Late last month, I wrote about Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer Will Thomas. Thomas is best known as the creature mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index and the minimalist, solo recording project Plumbline, with which he has released several albums, including two collaborative albums with ambient music composer Roger Eno. The Los Angeles-based composer has also written scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations.

Now, as you may recall, Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waiting at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the album will reportedly continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity. But while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our dire and uncertain political and social climate. The album finds Thomas continuing his ongoing collaboration with with Daughter Darling‘s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

Thomas reportedly set specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, sourcing almost every sound heard on the album, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and the occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer, in particular — that managed to leak into the studios and recordings, and were embraced on as part of the album’s material.

The visceral and intimate album single “Window to Window” was centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end was full of regret over lost moments, blown opportunities, the passage of time and the inevitability of mortality while nodding at Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. The album’s latest single “Near Enough” continues Thomas’ long-held reputation for crafting minimalist soundscapes — this time centered around shimmering and gently undulating synths, stuttering beats, hospital like blips and bloops, and Merz’s plaintive vocals. Revealing a deliberate and almost painterly approach and quality reminiscent of Radiohead‘s Amnesiac, “Near Enough” is a mediative song that evokes the longing for connection and meaning that we all struggle with at some point or another.

Best known for being the frontman of New York-based indie act Wild Pink, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Ross is also the creative mastermind behind the ambient and electronic solo recording project Eerie Gaits. Ross’ Eerie Gaits’ full-length debut, 2017’s critically applauded Bridge Music was inspired by driving over bridges. And under the Eerie Gaits moniker, Ross released a digital 45 with Dondadi in 2018 — and last year, as Eerie Gaits, Ross remixed Wild Pink’s “All Some Frenchman’s Joke” on the 5 Songs EP.

Slated for a Friday release through sound as language, Ross’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Holopaw derives its title from Holopaw, FL, the unincorporated community near where Ross grew up. Because Holopaw is technically not a town, village or even a hamlet, it’s administered under the jurisdiction of Osecola County, rather than its own municipality. And as a result, the 5,000 or so people who live in Holopaw don’t have a local government to call their own with its residents living in a liminal space between established community, odd backwater and remote hinterland.

Aesthetically, Holopaw‘s material bears an uncanny similarity to its namesake: untied to genre and unmoored from singular temperament. The album’s nine instrumental compositions undulate and ripple around arrangements that feature strummed guitar, contemplative and atmospheric synths and full-bodied yet placid indie rock, similar to what he has written with his primary gig.  Ross explains that Holopaw is “darker and more joyful at the same time.”

Interestingly, Holopaw‘s second and latest single is the incredibly cinematic and upbeat “The Rainbow Trout and the Wicker Creel.” Centered around shimmering and atmospheric  synth arpeggios, rolling drums, strummed guitars, “The Rainbow Trout and the Wicker Creel” is a contemplative track that evokes rippling and undulating water — and while intimate, possesses a widescreen and cinematic air.

 

Lyric Video: Dive Index Teams Up with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker on a Minimalist and Meditative Song

Will Thomas is a Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer best known as the creative mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index, the minimalist solo recording project Plumbline with which he has released several albums, including two collaborations with ambient music composer Roger Eno. Thomas has also composed scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations. 

Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waving at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the forthcoming album will continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity — while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our uncertain political climate. Interestingly, the album continues his ongoing collaboration with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

The album’s material reportedly finds Thomas setting specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, souring almost everything, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer — that leaked into the studio and were embraced into the songs. 

Waving at Airplanes’ latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “Window to Window.” Centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end, is visceral and intimate, and full of regret over lost moments, missed and blown opportunities, passing time and getting older  — and manages to recall Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

Mike Slott is an acclaimed singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, beatmaker, and producer who has released material as as solo artist under his own name, as well as a member of the mediative project Mirror Mirror, Heralds of Change with Hudson Mohawke and Lesser Pieces with collaborator Diane Badie. As a solo artist, his Lucky 9Teen EP has been considered one of the most seminal releases in the post-Dilla age of instrumental beat music, while establishing his sound and approach: delicate and ethereal electronics with quivering samples.
Slott’s forthcoming solo effort Vignettes EP can trace its origins back to 2011: Slott first wrote the material as part of a live re-scoring of Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s 2003 debut film The Return, which he performed at that year’s Edinburgh International Festival.  Serving as Slott’s return to his old label home, LuckyMe Records and his first release on the label in over a decade, the EP places the material in a different context — but without stripping it of its mesmerizing and shimmering beauty and its cinematic quality. The EP’s first single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Simple Dreams for Simple Days.” Centered around shimmering and slowly morphing synths, “Simple Dreams” manages to bring Brian Eno to mind while evoking  peaks of springtime warmth and sun slowly appearing through icy cracks.

New Audio: Vancouver Sleep Clinic Releases a Gorgeous Acoustic Meditation on Perseverance

The Brisbane, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and ambient electronic music artist Tim Bettinson is the creative mastermind behind the Brisbane-based recording project Vancouver Sleep Clinic. When Bettinson was just 17-year-old, he rose to international acclaim with the release of his debut EP Winter in 2014. After spending several years of major label purgatory and a concerted effort on his part to reclaim his music for himself, Bettison will be releasing his highly-anticipated sophomore Vancouver Sleep Clinic album Onward to Zion on October 18, 2019. 

Written in Bali, during a period of isolation last fall, Onward to Zion’s material is a decided and purposeful departure from the electronic driven sound and song construction — with Bettison writing much of the album on a $100 nylon guitar bought at one of Bali’s only music stores. “I’d started getting used to making three-and-half-minute songs with a beat and a hook-but the thing is that I don’t really come from making beats,” Bettinson explains in press notes. “I used to busk: that’s where I came from. The whole direction of this album changed for me once I realized I wanted to put the focus back on guitar again.”

Despite the seemingly simplicity of its origins, Bettinson’s sophomore Vancouver Sleep Clinic album is centered around a distinctly collagic sonic palette, encompassing a wide variety of things including ethereal atmospherics, psychedelic synth tones and hazy samples of 60s jazz-pop records. Along with that, the material represents a deliberate tonal shift from last year’s Therapy 1 EP and Therapy 2 EP.  “The Therapy songs mostly came from a place of frustration-just me complaining about the situation I was in back then,” says Bettinson. “When I sat down to think about the new album, I realized I don’t want my discography to reflect bitterness: I want to put something positive into the world. So even though it’s got some darkness, and it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at times, the album is very much coming from a place of love. I’d love for it to leave people feeling re-energized, and ready to just keep pressing on in their own lives.”

“Fever,” Onward to Zion’s third and final single is a gorgeous yet contemplative track centered around shimmering, strummed guitar and Bettinson’s sweetly plaintive vocals. While bearing a bit of a sonic resemblance to Parachutes-era Coldplay, the new single is a decidedly upbeat song focusing on perseverance and survival, ultimately saying that it’s okay to rely on others in your times of need. 

“‘Fever’ is the last song I wrote for Onwards to Zion and the final single to come out,” Bettinson says in press notes. “The timing feels special because ‘Fever’ really embodies the theme of perseverance from across the album and is written for the amazing people in my life that have inspired me and continue to help me press on in this journey.”