microphones in the trees

Thursday, February 04, 2016

furthers / fellirium / ugasanie & spiral of time

«Dedicated to coniferous structures, graceful pinewoods covered with moss, to cypresses shining in the sun along the mountain roads. We name this recording «pineal dreamer» and dedicate it to visionaries and dreamers, to all who draw their dreams and hallucinations from the gifts of the pineal gland. Shamans, dancing in the coniferous forests of their souls, and all kind of unseen creatures that came to us from the fabulous recesses of subconsciousness». furthers

Furthers are duo from Kyiv, Ukraine which music sparkles somewhere behind closed eyelids. Inspired by visionary art and ideas of Rick Strassman, always glorifying nature (especially coniferous, as you may noticed), it sounds like endless jam somewhere in the night woods, under the stars and milky way. With many instruments and effects used, totally improvised, the result may seem a bit lo-fi, but it suits the overall atmosphere very well – we hear the interaction between distant and nearby events, but they all connected by patterns of hallucinatory haziness. Every track has its own story as part one one huge trip through the subconsciousness and some track names give clear images of what is happening there – take "lovely emerald birds and velvet dolphins", for example. Slight touch of experimental new age (of kind that Rainbow Pyramid label releases) and few darker moments will keep your imagination busy. Actually, this music is kind of visionary painting itself, constantly changing, having many layers that become visible only at certain angles. Blissful and thoughtful, full of light and coniferous aromas, 80-minutes continuum to explore.

«Music that reveals horizons of unseen landscapes, silhouettes of sailboats travelling to distant lands, quietly and slowly emerging from the fog and thousands of blooming shades of sea blueness... Silent melodies and clear echoes are woven into net, that gently pulls the sea secrets from abyss of the depths». πάνθεον

Marine theme seems to be very attractive for ambient artists and it's understandable – being kind of impressionism, ambient music tends to natural landscapes, to non-verbal images of serene places and situations. At least brian-eno-type of ambient, when music is more about creating background for disctracted listener, working on subconscious level. You may be not even listening, but the certain effect will emerge afterwards. I always liked the idea, but what is even more interesting, is attentive listening to something that seems just beautiful background. Some ambient music reveals simple synth pad put on hold (and even then it may be interesting!), but Felliruim hides much more than that behind seemingly serene surface of quiet sounds. Subtle acoustic instrumentation and attentiveness to details reveals that work has been done very carefully, still making the result quiet and not too splashy. Marine landscape, that tells a story, image where every details reflects sunlight, like those paintings of Aivazovsky. Not so impressionist after all! Somewhere in between, maybe:  it's hard to put in terms of painting, because music is something always changing. Though, next listening to this disc may give me another impression, different mood and that is a very good thing. With this in mind, I have to say that Fellirium's "Mermaids" is no less, than a great example of pure ambient music.

listen ~ buy ~ download

«Damp air of this cloudy day hovered over the grey stones, becoming a trap for sounds, even hum of sea waves crashing on the rocks seemed to be inexpressibly farther. Beside the fog only stones were visible and the grass under one's feet, also fingertips felt the rough texture of labyrinth stone walls. Curving all the time it led away and further, freeing head from thoughts, taking away fears and memories...» πάνθεον

Here everything goes a bit darker. Siberian project Спираль Времени (Spiral of Time) was simply obliged to release a collaborative album with Ugasanie – both artists are so good in transmitting vibrations of archaic and still unknown North, that every time you listen to them, your subconscious begins to pull some words and symbols from the depths of collective memory, drawing strange signs before the eyes. Balancing between classic dark ambient formulas and electronic shamanism, Ugasanie crafts his music in own distinctive style known for his releases at Cryo Chamber label. But this part goes later on the disc, while Spiral of Time fills first five tracks with foggy aural substance holding on something what seems to be neoclassical instrumentation. You may feel cold, drenched and freezing – just like Stalker in Tarkovsky movie, – but there are some romantic about that for sure. And right when you start to feel little more comfortable, Ugasanie leads you into thick forest where archaic magic creatures rule. Just read track names: "mermaid's slough", "other side of the mushroom"... Yes, these mermaids are not those cute ones from Fellirium's album – but Russian wild-forest-kind ones, be careful!

uton / antti tolvi / lieven m. moana

«Experimental electronic studies with psychedelic flavours. Connections to the cosmic currents and invisible beings from the other worlds and dimensions, our collective dimension included. Music to help listener to breathe through its energy centers (chakras), or even from the core of the existence. Sounds to travel in astral ways, and explore the unknown, eyes closed or open - works well with both ways». ikuisuus

I always felt something ironic behind those weird sounds of Uton. Flirting with new age terms and ideas and still remaining truly Finnish noise in composition & sound – I can clearly imagine some yoga coach woman playing this tape in afternoon patio for her pupils... Eyes closed, all sitting in lotus posture... Listening to true inner selves... And suddenly alien invasion begins, starting from that patio: huge UFOs descending out of nowhere, lasers blasting all over the place, screams and panic and that tape continues to roll meanwhile. 

Maybe I listened too much new age tapes from '80s, but seriously – what meditation and yoga practice have in common with these collages of weird noises, playful sound effects and overall atmosphere of kindergarten merriment? But okay, let's not be boring and say that this tape is actual true and 100% new age, but from another solar system. Why not? We sent them gold plate with Bach, after all... If you ever read to vedic literature, it says that there are billions of planets with different kinds of intelligent creatures, but all of them share idea of Hinduism in a way, all being part of Brahman creation and Vedic cosmology. So, if we have chakras and they do, maybe we should establish connection not with prohibitively expensive antennas and computers, but in meditation state? Same energy, same vibrations, only different languages. But prana is universal, meditation state is universal, so let's use it as new internet! Actually, I almost sure that Jani Hirvonen already does it in his cosy apartment. And maybe they already here, among us. Who knows? The truth is out there. 

«To get to know the people, is to walk in their footsteps. Thus by walking Corvo Island’s only road, the Estrada Do Caldeirão, I entered the mind of her dwellers». lieven m. moana

«The idea for these pieces came up when I heard Lieven’s side – early version – for this split cassette. The idea was to make music which is the same as, and also totally different from Lieven’s side. I decided to make different set ups with my analog synths, and let them play themselves. Then do field recordings out of those». antti tolvi

Many artists are working with field recording genre nowadays. Why not, when it seems so easy – buy recorder, go to some place exotic, keep your mouth shut and ears open. But, of course, this is only the surface. There are many field recordings serving as documentation of places and events, released without any editing. And there is completely different thing, when field recordings are used as composition material: not as sample, which may be processed through many effects, but as an instrument itself. Idea is not new, there are some huge names like Francisco López or Slawek Kwi working that way, but work of Lieven M. Moana is probably something different, and not only because he prefers tape recorders and lo-fi aesthetics. Moana creates certain mythology, timeless presence of something bigger than just impression of the place. His recordings have pauses of silence, where you can actually feel more. Going back to John Cage's idea that music is everywhere where listener is, Moana finds another dimension of ever-present listener. He explores it, while visiting geographic locations and finds harmonic interaction between being subjective composer and detached field recordist. We don't have to be educated to feel harmony in things, but sometimes we need someone who will point at it. When  pause appear, you start hearing your own "island" – the one you live in. Have you listened to it today? 

And this brings us to the idea behind Antti Tolvi side of this tape – recording his synths playing themselves. Okay, he admits that failed in being independent observer and turned some knobs during the process, but this is what we do, when we walk away from crowded street, isn't it? Always turning knobs of our aural environment, we may forget doing that, thinking that everything just happens. Which brings us to John Cage again – if we found some sounds musical and other not, we acting like egoists, judging things for being noisy or uninteresting. Try to listen something you find unpleasant for your ears and ask yourself why you don't like it. Okay, this may go far into philosophy, and what we actually have on this tape is nice analogue drones and psychedelic ambient passages between them. But listening to this after Lieven's side makes difference. I can imagine these sounds being field recordings of some astronomical scale location, showing the huge picture of million-year-old nebula evolution with galaxies swirling all around it. And yes, I find it much more ear-pleasing than my neighbours yelling behind the wall. Am I egoist?

Friday, January 22, 2016

former selves ~ morriña

«Morriña, the Galician word from the region in Spain, used to describe an intense longing for something that is no longer there. Like being homesick. Arriving in Spain with no instruments, field recordings from daily walks in the Spanish countryside form the base of this album. Field recordings were arranged into compositions before hitting a single note of an instrument. This is his most unconventional Former Selves release to date». auasca

Indeed, this album sounds unusual. As long-time follower of Former Selves output I can surely tell that. Yet, this is still ambient/drone music, but its aesthetics goes far away from regular "lo-fi cassette drone jams". The way it was created and the resulting sound reminds Dragon's Eye Recordings catalogue and solo works of Yann Novak - the man behind it. Quietly unfolding layers of pure, undistorted drone, subtle presence of field recordings and amazing space between the resonances, which gives huge space for one's imagination. What is hidden behind those hums? Was it river speaking its own language with the sky or dry leaves, whispering stories about summer? Or just bare wind, hiding in the branches? Images are easily replaceable, but sound here keep its own vibe, slowly blending the edges of what we used to call 'reality'. Map is always smaller than territory, but symbolic interpretation of landscape and what it represents (subjectively, of course) may cause a wave of universes, going through one's mind. Or, maybe, mind goes though universes, causing music to be manifested at certain points of space-time? Reflecting on this even for the short time of this cassette playback, one can easily feel that actually his own self is missing, lost somewhere at the journey with these tunes... Which brings us to idea, so beautifully reflected in Paul's project name - Former Selves. Yes, this is exactly who we are. One moment ago, two moments ago... While you thinking of yourself, your 'real' self is already not there. So, probably this Morriña longing that we may feel, is not about something, but, in first place, about our selves.

Monday, January 18, 2016



Azha is the collaboration of Kathleen Baird (Spires That In The Sunset Rise, Sapropelic Pycnic) and Andrew Fitzpatrick (Noxroy, Volcano Choir, All Tiny Creatures, Bon Iver). In their debut release, Fitzpatrick processes Baird's flute and vocals through Ableton creating an icy, eerie, celestial ambience. Edition of 50. perfect wave

No se puede negar que en 2015 hemos contemplado un nuevo amanecer para Ka Baird. Siendo honestos, lo cierto es que se venía gestando desde un par de años atrás tras el sendero abierto por Tropical Rock. No obstante, el estallido avant-garde y free-jazz que supuso 'Beast in the Garden' ha liberado un torrente de reencarnaciones (Sapropelic Pycnic) y colaboraciones (Azha) al cobijo de Terry Riley, John Coltrane, Roland Kirk, Cluster o J.D. Emmanuel. Los más de 37 hipnotizantes minutos de la larga suite, secuenciada por Andrew Fitzpatrick sobre las improvisaciones vocales y flautiles de Kathleen, parecen fluctuar entre en un ambient que recorre las profundidades marinas y el espacio exterior. A estos parajes, dispares a priori pero que transmiten sensaciones similares, es a donde a mí me transporta ‘Celestial Meadows'. Flotas ingrávido entre interferencias, loops y disonancias, surgen vocecillas que se asoman para desaparecer rápidamente y vislumbras un arcoíris en la inmensidad helada que va desvaneciéndose paulatinamente. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Top 2015 by Steve Targo (Inner Travels)

Happy New Year, dear readers and listeners! Things were slowing down lately at Microphones due to the number of reasons, but we still listen to new music a lot! Our passion is stronger than ever and 2015 was really huge experience – tons of wonderful music released and lots of new names blossomed. We continue to dive this vibe, always searching, listening, perceiving and trying to share. It's always hard to choose 'best' among things so unique, that every piece takes you to another dimension, telling its own story, so we still contemplating on the task of posting our favourite pieces. Today we asked Steve Targo, one of our favourite musicians, to help with this and share his own thoughts about aural discoveries in 2015. Soon there will be more, keep well and enjoy your holidays!

«I couldn’t listen to everything I wanted to in 2015, but what I heard was magical. No other word to describe it. 2015 was such a magical year for my kind of music. So much came out that I'll need another year to catch up. My best of 2015 list is simply based on what I listened to the most. I'd be remiss to not mention such wonderful offerings by Meta Mora, Pulse Emitter, Panabrite, Opaline, Tropical Rock, Reuben Son, Maia Ibar, Inspired School of Astral Music, Dragontime, Kiyomitsu Miyashita, the “Skyward Territories” 4-way split … and so many others. For now, let’s just stick to 10. Or 11, depending on how you look at my tie for second, since it includes a collection that wasn't officially released but can be streamed».

10. H. Takahashi ~ Sea Meditation

9. Sunmoonstar ~ Gymnasium Flower

8. Hybrid Palms ~ Rainbow Breeze

7. Warren Michael Defever ~ Sunship

6. Selaroda ~ viaje a través de sonidos transportative

5. Water Bureau ~ Water Bureau

4. Kyle Landstra ~ Unshared Properties Vol. I-IV

3. David Edren ~ Music For Mimosa Pudica & Codariocalyx

2. Matt Barlow ~ Of Waves & his Sound Meditations playlist

1. Laraaji ~ All In One Peace

~ by Steve Targo  (Inner Travels, ex-riot_meadows)

Sunday, December 06, 2015

morton feldman

Morton Feldman's 1971 commissioned piece for the Rothko Chapel is one of the most sublime works in his vast catalog of recordings. In tribute to the chapel and to his friend the painter Mark Rothko who killed himself a year before the chapel opened, Feldman uses tonal rhythms, bells, viola and a chorus in stark but lyrical consort with the reverential acoustics provided by the chapel itself. Long fascinated by the sonorous qualities of tones and how they decay and diminish over time, Feldman shared with his friend Rothko the aim to unveil the mystery of perception. Performed with a slowly unfolding arc of restrained movements and silences, there has never been a more appropriate matching of acoustics and vision than the pairing of these two 20th century mavericks. aquarius

"Think you dont like "classical" music? think again... Morton Feldman (1926-1287) NYC, is like no other. beautiful compositions constructed with patience and beauty. Theres no other mind like his, he turned composition and standard methods of composing on it's head. He used Persian rugs, artwork, silence and space as influences while most others used Bach or Beethoven. Playing alot with "in-between notes" and off kilter timing. He creates an unmatched world. You pretty much can't go wrong with any of his work. (...) A soundtrack for viewing and being in the presence of art! amazing (..) Elegant, beautiful and refreshing. A must have for any music fans collection. Limited to 100 copies on high bias chrome tape." sanity muffin

Saturday, December 05, 2015

exit to exist / the sunrise


«Mirage-album, with music like laminating fog, that involves listeners to a walk in the aural forest. There's dark and pathless ocean of green everywhere around, and only music, which is mixed with silver haze, runs the show of slightly visible trail». pantheon

This album is the first tape release for Exit To Exist project hailing from Minsk, Belarus. Despite almost 10-year history of music making under Exit To Exist and many other aliases (Insumthinmagma, Nemertis, Golova!, Owl Majesty, Winter War in Tibet), Vitaut Starovojtau (the man behind E2E) released almost all his albums only in digital format, except maybe just one limited edition cdr collab with Creation VI, done by australian Twice Removed Records. This album was made with traditional guitar ambient approach – warm, soft and lo-fi sound, often so quiet that it's easy to fall asleep while listening to it. However, there are uncertain moments of dizziness and anxiety unfolding all around, so you can feel soil slipping from under your feet, turning into a hazy texture, illusory and unreliable. All of this seems very similar to a long night walk under the the rain, when small droplets dim the view and everything turns into a shiny surfaces buried in the unstable fog. Water blends houses, streets, sky and trees into a single whole... In the right mood this music works same way, filling gaps in space with soft haziness that transforms all visible objects into some vague twins. It's very easy to lose a moment when reality becomes a dream. But if you catch it and stay in it - time ceases to exist and everything occurs at the same time - with you, but at the same time with someone else. Aural paradox, mystery album. Recommended on repeat playback.

listen ~ buy tape ~ free download

the sunrise ~ field's silence (warmshelf records, 2015)

«The last album about fields. It's filled with all experiences about summer and nostalgic memories». the sunrise


 As the name suggest, here goes field recording album. Mostly natural sounds and atmospheres mixed with quiet ambient passages and loop manipulations – once again very traditional, but, at the same time, nicely working approach to ambient music making. All sounds were created & manipulated by Ivan Vavilov from Samara, Russia – short pieces of music, arranged in a way similar to portable recorder files. They may start with a click of 'rec' button and finish abruptly, but it doesn't seem unnatural. Only disadvantage here is the overall playing time of 26 minutes, but this may be explained as the part of the idea of "plein air sketches" - they might be short but it's enough to capture the beautifulness and overall impression. Listening to this tape at the beginning of snowy December brings warmest memories about summer, spent out of the city: in the steppe, by the sea, listening to wild pigeons, humming bees, evening crickets and night dogs, barking in the distance under the huge starry skies. At some point these sounds may form a kaleidoscope of tiny quanta of impressions and memories so densely intertwined, that it allows you to travel through space-time of the memory and reach some long-abandoned territories of childhood experiences – wordless, nameless, full of sunlight and life that goes in its naturally silent way. And you feel yourself as organic part of it, without reflecting on it, without any knowledge at all – just perceiving, just daydreaming, simply being alive... Such experience worth a lot and if music can bring it so easily, it deserves attention of everyone who needs such simple magic in its life.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

x.y.r / sunmoonstar / water bureau

«The mood of Mental Journey To B.C. is pre-human: obscure landscapes hissing in the heat, shimmering in the dark, uninhabited, unreal. Humid loops of Formanta Mini and smoke-ring keys float over hushed jungle metronomes and moonlit field recordings». not not fun

Once again we are invited to a journey with russian project X.Y.R., which name can be decrypted as "temple of solitary contemplation". Name of the album says about time of our destination, but it's certainly not some ancient civilization spot, at least there are no people in the picture. All we hear is same "tropical new age" music which is always crafted so beautifully by Vladimir with simple set of soviet synths and some guitar pedals. This music have to do with feelings much more than usual ambient music does, because it creates not just landscape or some script to fill it - it also stimulates listeners imagination and creativity, so you can make your own journey basically from just few hints. Shorts melodies, simple drum pads and lo-fi noise of old soviet gear... But this simplicity is full of magic, secret of which, I believe, should remain unsolved. Simply enjoy the possibilities it gives us!

«Composed with a sequencer and synthesizer, "Gymnasium Flower" is a ode to math, movement, and physicality. With her signature sculptural inklings, dot matrix's of soft light shift through each other to expose fantastic new patterns». squiggle dot

Newly composed set of aural impressions by australian charmer Natasha Home aka Sunmoonstar comes as a digital release and sounds respectively – on the edge of old-school ambient classics and modern internet lo-fi punk, varying from simple childish cartoon tunes to cyberpunkish opuses, tropical vaporwave and even some techno beats. It may sound crazy, but believe me - each time I listened to this album it sounded different somehow. I even thought that maybe someone just put new tracks there every day after release. Should admit, I expected same meditative lush that was on previous Sunmoontar's tape, but this album surprised me with new facets of Sunmoonstar talent - inventive, explorational sounds put together without being too serious about it. Not a geek music, but geeks will like it very much. I do!

«In some truly cosmic turn of events, Water Bureau finds Norm Chambers (Panabrite, Jürgen Müller, Spiral Index) and Daryl Groetsch (Pulse Emitter, Space Habitat) teaming up for a series of celestial meanderings that speak to the merits of both Pac-NW synth-heroes». sacred phrases

After having impressive box of "unshared properties" by Kyle Landstra and warm guitar lullaby by prolific Hakobune, one of the leading labels of the tape universe releases collaboration of another two super bright stars of this scene. I'm pretty sure that Norm and Daryl both are future (and even present) gurus of electronic music in the whole world and what they do is organic inheritance of what happened to music since the invention of synthesizers. Despite being a bit retro-oriented, their music rushes to new horizons and this collaboration is a good reason to explore the boundaries that were set before. Some critics say that everything in modern music is retro and everything new is the result of hybridization of old ideas, but I think that music in our age shouldn't be analyzed only by form and message behind it. At some point music became less attached to external qualities like styles or sound sources and what deserves attention nowadays is the complex picture of music inside our hypertextual world. What you may call a clishe taken from Michael Stearns album is actually a hyperlink to the huge amount of impressions and meanings embedded in this certain type sound or effect. And you choose to follow it - or not to. Thinking that way, music presented on Water Bureau debut tape may be experienced as a complex and quite interesting essay about the electronic music in US where musicians playing not only with synths, midi & effects, but with meanings and impressions, which already exist in collective mind of humanity, at least the part which listens to electronic music, of course. In the same time, this is just beautiful and refreshing piece of music, and it's already a good reason to have it in your collection!