microphones in the trees

Friday, April 27, 2018

les halles ~ zephyr




 «Zephyr takes its name from a light westerly wind, which aptly evokes the warm, weightless, whispering spirit of these beguiling electro-acoustic designs». not not fun

Baptiste Martin always been good at making pastoral landscapes with just few touches of flute loops and transparent veils of delay, but this time he surpassed himself. This record sounds way too good! It feels exactly like a gentle wind which envelops you softly from the very first seconds of playback. Nature is always like this – there's no such thing as imperfect wind or nonideal wave in the sea. Our mind tends to evaluate everything (like I just did few lines earlier) and we always seek for some abstract perfection, comparing things – and that's completely normal, that's the way mind works. Also, it would be weird to state that evaluation is bad, right? 

But my point here is that things are always have some place relatively to each other and when we say something about them, this relation is the starting point of our judgement. What I'm trying to say is that some things feel perfect as they are because then don't change given configuration. They just give you a possibility to see from another viewpoint. Thing becomes a portal to new vision. That's why this music is so perfect, its ability to realign simply amazes! Few minutes in and you're completely in a different world. Everything around remains the same, you are the same – but your perception is different. World definitely needs more music like this. Not really emotional. Not simply relaxing. Just making you more attentive to things. Not escaping reality, but accepting it. Sharpening the perception. Just like the wind reminds you to breathe deeply, just like the sun emerging from behind the clouds reminds you to look around... 

Gentleness and calmness of Zephyr may feel contrasting with our world, but carefully realigning your vision Les Halles' music gives you same feeling which wind itself probably has. Endless motion. Unstoppable flow. Of course, there are moments of stillness and moments of storming rage. But after all it's just a motion, state of being. The more steady it is, the more you see. Correlations, interconnections, cause and effect... If music is a state of air, then life is a state of mind. 



Friday, April 13, 2018

CYBEREALITYライフ ~ v i r t u a l r e s o r t ™



Of of the genre's pillars in vaporwave, "virtual resort™"  by CYBEREALITYライフ finally gets cassette reissue the newly formed TheINFINITYpool label, which already put out some no less iconic releases by Amun Dragoon, MindSpring Memories and Fujita Scale. Perhaps this album may not sound as unique as it used to be because of the clichee abundance happening with the genre these days, but CYBEREALITYライフ was one of those who introduced them in wide use. Virtual vacations to the cyber-space resorts already were in 90s, in Roger Zelazny's epic book "Donnerjack" and this album may be a really nice companion for such fantasies – advertisement breaks, weather channel's music, lounge jazz, 80s to 90s, subtly ironic atmosphere of new age and futuristic chill-out... Cheerful atmosphere of consumption, the rhythm of the buyer, briskly moving from one store to another in the brightly lit endless corridor of a shopping mall... A virtual paradise for ideal consumers only!

listen / support (sold out)


Tuesday, April 03, 2018

marta smilga ~ lunar maria, vol. 1



«'Lunar Maria' was created in Marta SmiLga's home studio on a barge in Riga across many cold autumn nights, when the sky was clear, full of shimmering stars and bright, embracing moonlight». ~ crash symbols

When I saw this tape for a moment my thought was "oh, new Lunar Miasma album!", probably because this is something that is not going to happen anymore and I was a huge fan of those psych drone analogue synth space excursions from Panos Alexiadis. But it's from Latvia this time, and Marta SmiLga is surely are well-experienced synth explorer – so when I listened to this album, it seemed like I'm there again, on this nostalgic road towards stars... Guide has changed, but the space is the same. The pace is slow, not much of psychedelia is going on, we are experiencing more thorough and scientific approach. Yet, it's as breathtaking as it was when I was five and saw an astronomy textbook for the first time... Yellowed pages with galaxies, planets, comets, asteroids and of course – lunar map. Gasping admiration. I remember telling my mom that there are seas on the Moon (and even one ocean!), but those are not real seas and that Lunokhod went there and people went there, and... And she was saying okay, okay, good... Ten years later I was out every clear night, sitting with my self-made telescope, sketching lunar surface in my observations journal, all those craters, mountains and seas – watching how shadow slowly changes the picture on the edge of light and dark... 

Yes, music can provoke a lot of nostalgia! And that's the beauty of it, the miracle of memory and perception. Listening to slowly changing delicate compositions on this tape brings this subtle feeling of childish excitement mixed with awe and admiration, which was probably best captured in Kubrick's Space Odyssey. Gazing into a deepness of the Universe and realizing equal profoundness of your own mind. It's perfectly reflected by ringing resonance of Marta SmiLga's drones and tiny detailed veils of microsounds around them. Thin surface of events around barely perceived vastness makes all the sense. No matter how cold or dark space is, our mind finds it strangely attractive because it mirrors something inside us, because we are same thing... And same thing happens with music here. Isn't it wonderful?  



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

zazz ~ soft harbinger



"Zazz is the long distance collaborative project of Ang Wilson and Braeyden Jae. Out of mutual admiration for each other’s musicality and expression, the project came to life when the two decided to develop a creative dialogue through sound, sending files back and forth with no pre-determined aesthetic or agenda. That space of not knowing and openness nurtures the trust and respect that guides the project. It allows for an honesty and presence that can be difficult to tap into when the course has already been charted. 

Soft Harbinger follows the thread of gentle and pastoral work that Braeyden has pursued with his project, softest, and that Ang has been known for, both with their solo project, teasips, and with Electric Sound Bath. Soft Harbinger is the debut album from Zazz and it’s a beautiful opening." ~ inner islands

Vernal equinox is definitely a good day to share some peaceful music with the world and honestly I can't think better place to look for it than Inner Islands label. For many years now it keeps this delicate flow of acoustic sensations which adds something meaningful to our world. Just a little bit of harmony... 

When David Bohm, one of the quantum physics pioneers, discussed his theories with attendees, he described our world as a hologram and the difference between hologram and usual picture is that each part of hologram keeps the whole picture. So if you tear a regular photo you'll have fragments which can't really tell you what was captured on the original (especially if it's really small fragments), while each piece of broken hologram will have same picture in it, just more blurred than original. Each tiny piece of it will be same, just less detailed... When I read about it in my childhood, guess my life was irreversibly changed that moment. If the Universe is holographic in its nature, it means each tiniest part of it is the universe itself. And of course I knew about it before – metaphorically, from tales, myths, from poetry... But this was science, huh! 

But yes, your yoga teacher or psychologist are right when they say each person is a universe. But important part here (from physics) is that if even smaller part contains the whole picture, it can be so blurry that you'd never tell that something's there. It's hidden, it's out of reach. Parts must be connected, integrated and here lies another trick moment – there is a big difference between a part and a fragment. A bunch of letters may create some words but you need a concept of harmony to create poetry of it. Rhythm. Waves. Patterns... There is no music in the world until the listener appears. A mind with an idea of harmony. And that's the hologram, the picture of the whole, the music made of natural noises, the very beginning of it. 

Of course we don't need to go metaphysical to enjoy music. We even gone so far that we can see harmony in something which was considered dumb noise only a few decades ago. I guess that's inevitable process, that's seeing the bigger picture. Following the patterns of harmony. I'll leave the question about nature of the harmony itself because I'm trying to talk about music here and music is obviously my favorite thing in this Hologram. Simply because it doesn't need words to make you feel these things. It always connects you with other people, events, places and sensations, you become something bigger than you was. And in case of Zazz it does that thing so delicately, that you may lose any thoughts just after few minutes spent inside these blissfully repeating patterns of universal harmony... If each musical track is a hologram then these two sides are filled with so many things that you'll need an eternity to explore them all. It's just like a window into the wider space. Wide as world itself. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

inner travels ~ yonder



Flickering music at the edge of natural and abstract. Invisible structure of morning air. Web of tiniest threads connecting perception with so-called reality... New tape at Sounds of the Dawn it's always a revelation and each Inner Travels' work is an expanding universe of intuitive knowledge about phenomena we usually avoid to notice in our daily routine. All these barely noticeable nuances, a multidimensional space between what we call "myself" and "everything". You know they are endless, but it's your personal infinity, your own universe created on the edge of what you see and what you think you see. The game of life and death. What you believe and what is hidden. 

Despite its purely electronic nature I always see Inner Travels as music about nature. Yet it's not simply landscaping or ecologically inspired – the weaving of the sound here is abstract enough, yet with a strong rhythmic background. I'd say it's the air chiming. All kinds of air: morning, evening, air above lakes... But it's not about the air – like a book is not about pages and letters. When I'm trying to express that feeling Yonder gives me, it vanishes... When this music was born, it did same thing. Nuances of the perception, the miracle of memory which we often take for granted. Something was here for a moment and then vanished, but it lives in our perception... Not just a static picture, but vivid object, living thing. Of course we have a mechanism in mind which says "that is real and this is not". "It's just a memory", "it's just a dream"... Safety mechanisms. But listening to Inner Travels I feel like this distinction dissolves in the ripples of sounds. It's all same thing, one thing. No matter how you call it, real or made up, it lives its own life, it has its own infinity of nuances, true miracle! Just like everything else. 

rhucle ~ handmade ocean




Since 2014, young ambient producer Yuta Kudo aka Rhucle managed to publish more than fifty albums full of calmest ambience. You can safely trust this music to lull your children, use it as a growth stimulant for domestic plants or simply put it on 24-hour repeat without fear that something suddenly will change dramatically there. Rhucle albums sound absolutely same! It took me two years to start to distinguish them from each other (and I even published one), but even now I will not agree for a blind test. We all know Celer, Hakobune and Hatakeyama-san, and Yuta clearly studied with the best, but, in fact, what he does with his music is even more diverse in a sense. Yes, in every Rhucle album you'll hear sea waves, whispering springs, brooks and all other kind of water element. And his ambient sounds behave in similar fashion - instead of a static drone, Rhucle threads simple tones into undulating patterns causing the resonant frequencies to tremble - just like ripples on the water surface or streams inside a river body. But where Will Long ascribes another beautiful concept or situation, in order to justify another portion of the humming sounds with some reason (doing that, apparently, for himself - for me it's absolutely fine when music even doesn't have a title), Yuta won't do anything - same simple titles like Quiet Moments or Someday in the Rain, same sounds and the same murmuring water - absolutely pastoral, truly Japanese impressionism.

And this is his strength and his courage - not to try to surprise anyone with something, not to compete whose drone is more fat or deep... Just doing what he likes most. And repeating it again and again to the perfection. It's absolutely natural. The river flows every day just as it did yesterday. And maybe, at first glance, nothing changes in it. But you should slow down, calm down and just start looking - and you start to notice how thousands of tiny grains of sand change patterns every minute. As the reflection of the clouds trembles on the surface of the water. How infinite variability is combined with the disarming saturation of statics... This definitely has something Japanese and generally eastern in it - where we see simple, everyday things, Japanese find an infinite number of shades, nuances, meanings. And makes art of this. Maybe I'm just being stereotypical, but It seems to me that Rhucle mastered zen of ambient music - maybe just for himself, not necessarily for everyone... But that's how it usually happens, isn't it?



Saturday, November 18, 2017

baldruin ~ biotische verwitterung




«A disquieting record to accompany the nightmare of now. Baldruin documents this darkness, finding some hope in the helplessness. Buried within these grooves, lies a dizzying array of crepuscular sonics. Barely alive, it drips with dread. Rachitic loops return to us, like traumas. A sticky submission. My goodness, these earworms are infectious.» aetheric-records 

If this world is going to an end – let's dance! Why not? Oh, there is so much fear and dread, and awe, and horror, and hope, and loneliness, and death-death-death is everywhere! But why not to dance? It all begins in light they said. Send your prayers they said. But what's in the end? Baldruin says 'Vom Ende' and then nightmare just begins, spinning its way back to your memory, turning everything upside down, changing the faces and places in the same canvas like in the most disturbing David Lynch movie. Yet, we can dance a bit. Because why not? Okay, despite being groovy and glitchy and gloomily enjoyable this record is not about decadence. It's definitely Baldruin's most creepy work to date, sometimes so disturbing that it gets physical. Something in the stomach. So you better move your body, because these aural rats are everywhere, their skins are soft and warm but they are red inside and they want you be same way... It feels like everything collapsing, yet there is something hidden in the sound which gives you strength to look, to face this storm. Apocalyptic, yes – this records definitely has its own transcendental virtue usually avoided by many. If it's usually calming escapism or filth and decadence in case of 'apocalyptic music', Baldruin paves his own way far away from both. I'd call it necessary vision. To look at thing as they are. As you just came out of wilderness and faced human world for the very first time. Not knowing what's good and what's bad. Not knowing where to go, because your wilderness is gone. And everything else is going to end as well... And it isn't dark at all. It's just how it is right here, right now, when you go by the streets – just one step away from the usual safe road. It may be literal, but can be in your mind. Just one, just little tiny step. And new wilderness unfolds, The Real of the Now. It barks, it bites, it pleases, it laughs, it fists your guts. But after all we know that we created it. So why not to dance with it? 


Friday, November 17, 2017

son ash ~ easy listening for the hearing impaired



son ash ~ easy listening for the hearing impaired (År & Dag, 2017)

«'Easy Listening For The Hearing Impaired' is a collection of timbral, rhythmical and structural studio experiments for analogue synthesizers, sequencers and reel tape. Part of the material stems from free improvisation, while other parts are composed from more strict and conformational principles. The album is concerned with the idea of beginning and becoming, and an increasing expanse is embedded in the progression of the album, that gradually unfolds its ramifications over time». År & Dag

After years of dedication to ambient music it can be hard to focus on weirdness and playfulness of modern electronic music. Surely it's not that hard in general, your mind just gets so comfortable with the idea of music without unexpectable turns and sharp angles that it becomes inseparable from daily routine. Even without calling it consumerism or escaping, it's enough already to say that one can easily become 'hearing impaired' to any other kind of music. With this in mind I finished my first listening to this record, staring to the ceiling, completely lost and totally inspired. Taken first as the controversial eye-catcher, the name of this album unfolded as a little epiphany – even having the all music of the world before us, we usually select just few styles for personal comfort remaining deaf to anything else. Voluntary deafness, John Cage's archenemy. Of course, there is contrariety to it, hunger to complexity and ingenuity, which drives so-called avantgarde to limits of reason. But beyond those extremes lays the vastness of music, which can be virtually anything for you. 

Son Ash brings a lot to this table, playing and experimenting, making fun of cliches. Sometimes it gets so calm and minimal that it can be mistaken for some Guenter Schlienz' new work, but just few moments later it turns your calmness into laughter, as it was saying 'haha, got you!' – yet within the bounds of decency. I doubt Andreas Pallisgaard (Son Ash mastermind) does it on purpose, at least I want it to be that way because it creates a picture of some kind of futuristic ambient music in my head – it still exists in terms of Satie & Eno, but already corrupted by this unavoidable post-internet vibe, when unexpected turns are not glitches of the system but are result of changed perception of the world, conscious switches. Mind changing it's focus same way as 20 years ago people changed TV channels during sleepless night, but with awareness why and what for. As we change interiors while drifting through the city to our homes. If classic ambient was pastoral in many ways and had its evil twin 'dark ambient', this new ambient cannot be named that easily. It's not dystopian or critical. It's not even weird or cynical. It's like the life itself – just changing. Just different for every one. But still it has to say something about all of us in common. Yes, this is easy listening, after all, but only if you forgot how to listen. 

listen ~ support ~ watch video