19 December 2007

Henrik José

sometimes a simple, heartfelt popsong hits you in just the right spot. so it is with the music of Henrik José. for those of you who havent done your homework, Henrik J. provided vocals for what is possibly my all-time favorite netlabel release, I'll Meet You There by ST, in addition to to his other quality electro/idm/demostyle netlabel releases under the name Bliss. i was quite happy to discover recently that his entire catalogue, as well as some quite excellent new songs are available for download in one place on his brand-new webpage (two of which appear on the afore-mentioned Camomille 100 release). Mr José crafts thoughtful, emotive songs using his voice, acoustic guitar and his demoscene-inspired tracking skills. a somewhat unlikely collision of acoustics and 8bit electronics, but one that works beautifully. Swedish electro-pop to brighten your coldest winters...

12 December 2007

Francesco Lettera

normally i really cant stand sequenced orchestral music, but in the case of music by Francesco Lettera, the composition is of such quality that i can forgive the occasionally cheesy sounds (although, on the whole, the sequencing sounds quite good). the digital orchestral sometimes lacks the 'punch' of a live performance, but the composer has done a very admirable job of infusing the music with a great deal of evocative expression and lively capriciousness. Mr Lettra has two quality releases on the somewhat enigmatic netlabel dharmasound: Vertigini, and The wizard of OZ. drawing on a wide range of influences- most notably Danny Elfman, perhaps along with a few cut scenes of Mahler, a flashback to Vaughn Williams, a tiny reference to Prokofiev or Stravinsky- these releases should appeal to fans of music with a grand, panoramic quality.
thanks to the Machtdose podcast for turning me on to these releases.

11 December 2007

Planet Boelex - Live at Virus festival Lithuania

once again switching gears back into electronic/ambient/idm territory: a brand-new live set is released this week on monotonik from a favorite here at hiddenplace music, planet boelex. including delicious live versions of new planet b. releases, a few older classics as well as some new surprises, this super-chilled winter set makes for an excellent morning, afternoon, or evening's listen (or perhaps all three!)
also included are some extra treats for trainspotters like me, high-resolution artwork --once again created by yours truly-- and .cue file with track names for cd burning or cue-compatible players.
once again planet boelex's expert mixing skills and careful attention to each delicate detail make for a sublime listening experience at any time of the day or year.

10 December 2007

Sasha Ponkratov - Kaleidoscope

i have always had a sort of love/hate relationship with russian music. its frequently ponderous and oppressive moods and its occasionally ear-splitting experimentalism i find both distasteful and fascinating. despite these broad generalisations, there is always more to discover in russian music and i just cant stop listening-- prokofiev, stravinsky and rachmaninoff were staples of my cd collection in my classical music-filled early years, and these days artists such a sleepytown manufacture and unit21, as well as netlables such as electrosound.ru i count among my top electronic music interests.
it is especially interesting to discover a release which breaks the mold entirely. a new release from a blog reader arrived in my inbox the other day and i was pleasantly surprised to discover an eclectic, yet well-balanced fusion of odd acoustic instruments with electronics. the influences are too many to name here- is it early jazz, modern 'post-jazz' or eastern european gypsy music? no matter, a variety of idiosyncratic rhythms and non-traditional scales are employed here with a playful smile and nod, making for another fascinating listen for those with an ear for music which is 'outside the box.' in the coming year, i hope to focus more on musicians who fuse analogue and electronic elements in their music, and Kaleidoscope is a perfect introduction to just that sort of sound.

06 December 2007

Pavel Dombrovski plays George Crumb: A little suite for Christmas

today, another audio treat for fans of the avant-garde: a modern classical(?) piano piece by experimentalist composer George Crumb. presented by the russian top-40 netlabel, this piece is quite a unique find in the netaudio world and will most certainly fascinate those with an interest in classical composition, performance, and sound art. as instructed by Mr Crumb, the performer coaxes a huge variety of sounds from the piano, including many avant-garde techniques such as long periods of silence, heavy tone clusters, and knocking/strumming/plucking the inside of the piano. this piece is full of expressionistic emotion-- moments of quiet ambience are punctuated by violent explosions of sound. i was particularly impressed by a passage where the performer plays chords on the keys and plucks a melody on the open strings, giving a delicate, harp-like effect. dont be fooled by the somewhat cliché christmas titles, this is definitely not your average holiday music!

05 December 2007

K.M.Krebs - Symmetries

it has taken me several listens to form a proper opinion of this piece, but the continued dark and moody weather inspired another listen today, and i decided that it is most certainly a noteworthy release. Symmetries comes from one of my favorite new new netlabels, Resting Bell, and is produced by netaudio veteran K.M. Krebs (aka 883-54). at times the combination of processed field recordings and droning, repetitive electronics can seem rather over-worked in the netlabel world, as a large number of releases in a similar 'experimental' style may be found on various netlabels. however, when done with the right amount of careful mixing and skilful attention to detail, the results can be quite fascinating, hypnotic, and even beautiful. a set of three disparate but consistent tonal landscapes are presented here, and with a duration of only about 25 minutes, it is a perfect length for those who are sometimes easily bored by longform ambient drones. all listeners with adventurous ears will certainly find this brief, but deeply textured sonic excursion a worthy pursuit.
for those with an interest in art and design, the album artwork comes from an equally fascinating book of drawings from micro- and macroscopic observations of nature, called Kunstformen der Natur, lovingly scanned and presented by this website.

02 December 2007

Xurba - Music from the Clear Channel - now available!

just a quick reminder that the aforementioned release by Xurba, presented by Kahvi Commercial is now available on Beatport for €14.99 -- this excellent collection of experimental ambient idm atmospherics comes highly recommended by both kahvi and hiddenplace music. iTunes release to follow in early 2008...

Camomille 100 - Cycles

hiddenplace music has recently received word that the long-awaited 100th release from the camomille netlabel has been officially released. normally i dont recommend anything without listening to the entire thing first, but with such an impressive array of artists, i know this will be an excellent and fascinating release. a collection of digital artwork has also been included, and along with the 3,5 hrs+ playing time, there is much to explore here. artists included are:
Lackluster, Twerk, Henrik Jose / Bliss, Julien Neto, Khonnor, Ilkae, Talve, Anders Ilar, Hunz, Jemapur, Proswell, Vim, Epoq,ST, Pocka, Troupe, Makunouchi Bento, Tang Kai / Mikael Fyrek, Blisaed / Seathasky, Sense, Transient, Fah, Planet Boelex feat. Lisa's Antenna, Emanuele Errante, Kaneel, Shiftless, The Open Directory Project, Nil, Hofuku Sochi, Kyle Dawkins, Ks, Slash, Muhr, Papercutz, Imtech, Beatslaughter, The Kodama Institute, Mattia Marchi and MigloJE. astute readers might also note my own humble contribution of bizarre flute samples which have been warped and mangled in a most interesting way in a track by abstract ambient maestro Shiftless.
it seems like many netlabels have been holding onto their best material until the end of the year, so, stay tuned and hiddenplace music will provide you with plenty of music to fill your holidays and warm the dark and cold winter days.