29 December 2010

URM - stratification

One sub-genre of ambient music which hasn't gotten much attention here on the blog is classic Berlin-school spacemusic. Stratification, released for free on the ping things label, skillfully combines the classic elements established by pioneers like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze-- long evolving arpeggiated sequences, light electronic percussion  and deep echoing soundscapes in a one-hour flight into analog synth heaven.

18 November 2010

Tetarise – Through the Silent Void

I previously featured Tetarise's excellent LP k.a.m.a. so it goes without saying that anything by this artist is well worth hearing. His latest release on Silent Flow netlabel is another excellent work not to be missed.
Wide open spaces, delicate atmospheres, crunchy beats, deep basses and soaring leads sometimes reminiscent of hiddenplace favorite Planet Boelex make for another thrilling journey through auditory headspace, with a few unexpected twists along the way. Once again, a brilliantly produced album of cinematic idm which will definitely be spending a lot of time on my iPod.

29 October 2010

twitter links

As you may have noticed, real-life obligations have prevented me from posting here as often as I would like. However, I frequently post links to my most interesting new musical discoveries on my twitter feed (along with occasional cynical political commentary, rants, venting, and links to random weird stuff). Because not everyone uses twitter, here is a summary of some of the [mostly] creative commons music links I have "tweeted" in the last couple weeks.

A dark, groaning, spacey atmosphere - Desolatus by @ (available only until 31 Oct!)

lovely acoustic music for autumn -- Maps & Transit 'Songs for Divining' on @ -

a brand-new dark/weird/noise idm release by idmf label

new Lucette Bourdin/Darrell Burgan collab out on Earth Mantra. deep cinematic ambient

new interactive iphone app featuring the music of Steve Roach http://ericfreeman.com/immersion/

new album by Etnoscope on @ progressive tribal trance at its best!

dubby chilled drum n bass album by Spotless aka Kondencuotas Pienas

Hypnagogue podcast number 38. "please leave your body at the sound of the tone"

sadly i dont speak dutch, but the newest netwaves has some great "idiot dance music"

Tange - Eternal Dreaming-- 5 hours of peaceful drifting ambience on Treetrunk Records

another great idm mix by phalanx

"mystical environmental sonic poetry" by Gastón Arévalo

Psilicon Dreams 11 for October 2010

new experimental dream pop/folk album by german sound design maestro Emil Klotzsch http://emilklotzsch.bandcamp.com/

Awesome new track by @planetboelex on the new kahvi.org compilation. two tunes for the price of one!

new edition of low light mixes featuring tracks with vocoder sounds- air, eno, boards of canada, robert rich, etc http://is.gd/fRlmG

really nice world music flavored ambient/chillout mix from elpamusic http://bit.ly/aINbgb

eclectic dnb: Zengineers - The 5th Realm http://www.ideology.de/archives/audio000241.php

beautiful, lush, melodic idm sounds: Rumorse - Halogen Eve http://www.i-absentee.com/IA036.html

As a reminder to those reading this in an rss reader, I also share new music links on the right side of the blog page, and through my Google shared items.

27 October 2010

aKido - Gamechanger

In the process of writing the reviews for this blog, I've discovered that often the best music is incredibly hard to describe. Gamechanger is just such an album. As I listen to it, any attempt to define it or make comparisons seems insufficient. I just know it's good. aKido combines intricately sequenced idm-esque beats, electro melodies and a smattering of ethereal vocals with rhythmic guitars and post-rock elements, but in such a way that it transcends any attempt to attribute genres or influences. Brilliantly composed and produced, this album is a must-have for fans of melancholy, emotive electronic music.

07 September 2010

Hiddenplace dj mix roundup

lately a lot of my daily listening consists of podcasts and dj mixes. They don't really lend themselves to individual review, so here's a semi-random selection of mixes I've particularly enjoyed lately:

Ambient Dubstep 1- 7
Not really ambient, not really dubstep. I'd call it dubby chillout. In any case, very enjoyable.

Michael Gaida - Mindscapes 97
deep proggy house, perfect vibes for (what's left of) summer

Nick Warren - isolatedmix 10
One half of UK techno duo Way Out West spins a very chilled and eclectic mix of electro-acoustic ambient tracks.

phalanx - downtempo set @ melyvarazs
Finest selection of netlabel downtempo/idm/brokenbeat grooves.

Michael Gaida - Urban Sounds .06
another mix by Michael Gaida, but this time drum n bass. to be honest, this "liquid drum n bass" pretty much all sounds the same to me, but I don't care. It's great for a mid-afternoon mood lifter.

Lenzman - Reprize.021
More smooth and soulful drum n bass, with vocalist Riya acting as MC. maybe not for everyone, but a little something different.

PsyAmb 29
Every episode of the Psy-Amb podcast is great, and I found myself listening to this one several times. as usual, a top-notch mix of deep dubby and mellow moods, along with very detailed and informative show notes.

TC - Flying Dutchman 2010-08-16 The Needles
Don't miss season 6 of one of the first electronic music podcasts ever, spacemusic.nl

31 August 2010

Makunouchi Bento - Swimé

Romanian producer Makunouchi Bento's newest release Swimé is an ambitious avant garde work containing an exotic blend of organic instrumentation, electronic effects, and a jungle of clicks, buzzes, chirps, screeches, and roars. each movement in the work tumbles through a cavalcade of colorful vignettes. in one passage, an abrasive barrage of chaotic sound design breaks into a soaring string quartet arrangement accompanied by an out of tune toy piano. in another, a wandering accordion is baked by rhythmic splashing water and tropical balinese chimes. Swimé is an album full of surprises and aural curiosities for fans of the cutting edge of sound design and classical composition.

05 August 2010

Nettless - Phobos and Deimos

with the double album Phobos and Deimos, released to the world by the ambient über-netlabel Earth Mantra, finnish producer Nettless graces us with 2 hours of blissful spacemusic. 129 minutes of deepest empty coldness, brightest white-hot light, shining quasars, streaming supernovae, and massive galaxy clusters- lightyears distant yet beaming into your ears like tiny pinpricks of starlight...

04 August 2010

A Shroom with a View

a couple weeks ago i had a lovely skype conversation with nexus112 from A Shroom with a View podcast. we talked about conspiracy theories, the technological singularity, creative commons music, meditation, entheogens, being your own shaman, the meaning of the psychedelic experience, and probably some other stuff ive forgotten about. somehow we managed to record it and Nex made it into episode 20 and 21 of his podcast. i cant promise it will be remotely interesting to anyone else, but i had a good time, and the SWAV podcast is definitely recommended if youre interested in mycology, psychedelic thinking, celtic music and odd scottish humor.

23 June 2010

Secret Archives of the Vatican

having already released several LPs, compilations, and free singles, Secret Archives of the Vatican has recently put out two free EPs, The Glidepath and Wisdom Truth. ive been following their podcast and original production for some time now and i think its some of their best work so far. the Secret Archives style is well-defined: an exotic far-east-flavored blend of dubstep, downtempo and "global beat" with a bent for post-religious and anti-establishment themes. Deep wall-rattling bass, crisp rolling beats, dubby echoes and middle-eastern/arabian instruments, along with a smattering of spoken word make these eps a thrilling ethno-musical journey into a post-apocalyptic future.

20 June 2010

Klotzsch & Krey - Through All These Years Of Trying To Belong

while i was at the cologne commons conference and music festival last weekend, i had the good fortune of meeting Simon of the 12rec netlabel and Emil Klotzsch, which gave me a good reason to revisit Emil's wonderful collaboration with Ruediger Krey, Through All These Years Of Trying To Belong. Emil's work as a sound designer for film is apparent, as this is an album of expansive audio-visual depth. subtle processed field recordings and ghostly pads loom far on the horizon.. in the middle ground, mournful piano chords.. and close in the foreground, a solo clarinet (and occasionally voice), recorded with intense intimacy, capturing every hiss, squeak, clattering sticky key and half-breathed note. a startling and original ambient work.

14 June 2010

Gastón Arévalo - Marea

Marea from the excellent Passage Music netlabel is a beautifully austere yet deeply calm ambient LP in a style that harkens back to the golden days of the autoplate netlabel. hushed pads and occasional distant guitar notes enveloped by subdued glitches and washes of microsound field recordings evoke and atmosphere of timelessness and stillness. "perfect for a long dreamscape diving or in-depth structure research of surrounding matters."

28 May 2010

Andrew Lahiff

infinite echoes.. lush organic soundscapes.. tribal rhythms from another dimension.. Andrew Lahiff produces spellbindingly deep atmospheric ambient in the grand Rich/Roach tradition.
several albums as well as a generous selection of free mp3s are available at andrewlahiff.com

22 May 2010

Altus - 24 Hours

canadian producer and hiddenplace music favorite Altus has re-released his 2001 album, 24 Hours in lossless flac format- a perfect reason to revisit this beautiful work. deep, spacious drones, soft ambient pads and subtle environmental sounds make this album perfect listening for a relaxed sunny weekend.

08 May 2010

Planet Boelex - Raja

its become somewhat of a hiddenplace music tradition- planet boelex puts out a new release and hiddenplace music lauds it as the best release of the year. with Raja, planet b gives us no reason to break this tradition. in fact, he produces such consistently high-quality music that its no longer a surprise when a new album is a brilliantly-produced stunning masterpiece of subtle beauty.
Raja continues and develops the more stripped-down style which marked Little World, incorporating some of the same sounds and textures, but expanding it into (almost) purely instrumental territory. all our favorite planet boelex touches are still there- deep gliding basses, lush ambient atmospheres, soaring leads and the most precisely edited percussive elements ive ever heard. extra elements come in the form of beautiful vocals by Lisa's Antenna, acoustic guitar by Mosaik and additional production help from Mikael Fyrek. the stylistic similarity makes it an excellent companion piece to Little World, together forming an hour of blissful, dreamy soundtracks for times of quiet reverie.

03 April 2010

hiddenplace music mix 8: Terence Day 2010

Download mp3 75 MB, 160 kbps

"Terence Day" is celebrated on April 3rd in honor of Terence McKenna, an ethnobotanist, philosopher, speaker, writer and futurist. some people use this day to celebrate and explore the concept of boundary disillusionment, which is a concept that McKenna talked quite a lot about in his talks and lectures over the years. according to him, the dissolving of the artificial boundaries which society has set up is essential for the human species to grow and survive as we move into the next stage of our evolution.
this year marks the 10th anniversary of McKenna's death, so i wanted to put together a special mix of consciousness-expanding music, some of which features clips from his lectures. the mix ends with the stirring finale of a performance he gave with Space Time Continuum in the early 90s.
even if youve never heard of Terence McKenna before, i hope this mix inspires you to give some thought to the boundaries we create between ourselves and the environment, between "us" and "them" and between our ego self and our fellow human beings.

(00:20) stockfinster. - Sailing Through The Bardo [Sutemos]
(05:40) Alkor - One Day Above The Clouds [Kahvi, Ektoplazm]
(11:25) Trebolactiko - Pskalibur [Ektoplazm]
(17:08) Pan Psychic - The Last Reality [Ektoplazm]
(22:55) Xamanist - Machu Picchu [Ektoplazm]
(30:27) Rage Against Comics - Juggernaut Mass Culture [Ektoplazm]
(36:02) Spire - Helical Scan [Ektoplazm]
(43:03) Space Time Continuum - Timewave Zero

cover artwork by holodelic

14 March 2010

That Black - Timelessness

i frequently throw around words like "epic" "cinematic" and "eclectic" when describing some of my favorite music, but every now and then an album comes along which completely redefines these words. not only is Timelessness by russian producer Vlad Kreymer brilliantly produced and the thrill to listen to, in my opinion it defines a new genre of eclectic ambient music. combining acoustic sounds of accordion, violin, guitar and vocals with tasteful synths, field recording mash-ups and ingenius sound design, this album is an expansive journey through nostalgic dreamscapes not easily forgotten.

21 February 2010

hiddenplace music mix 7: Muttley: Stepping Into The Sun

Download mp3 110MB 320kbps

for the next addition to the hiddenplace mix series, a very special guest mix from Muttley of SubVersion. in this mix, as in many of his other mixes, Muttley goes beyond the typical crossfaded playlist and creates what is more of a musical sound collage. ambient, modern classical, electro-acoustic with some unexpected moments.

Muttley writes:
Comfort without coordination levers haphazard states. You can be safe for a short while but then a tornado appears out of nowhere to blow off your roof. Granted, we can have defences to shield us from damage. Nonetheless, ambiguity can fluster. "Stepping Into The Sun" interlocks blind, brazen spurts with the ability to process electronically generated sounds from recognisable phenomena, illuminating some of the capricious invisible forces that impact on it.

To recharge one's batteries, it's advised you listen as if you had a gig buddy, as that's how this came to be. There are lyrics in the tracks - Last Days' "This Is Not An Ending" stops my black clouds descending from the explosive noise of Paul Bradley's "Somatic", and Ulrich Schnauss' "kissing you goodbye" from "Gone Forever" marks a departure from social allegiance.

Walking to and from the city centre, I encounter palpitations which make it hard for me to breathe, whereby when complications pursue my consciousness, I require someone to set me straight when my brain turns inwards on itself. Future outcomes flash across my mind, and certain remove existence, blacking out in image. Rarely are they slowly unfolding, so snap decisions whether not making the moves I envision are right or wrong, causes reservoirs of belittling gesture to flow in multidirectional sprays, culminating with "for no apparent reason" from remembering Busdriver lyrics, or comparable psychoanalytical hinges.

If this summation sounds convoluted, it fits the event scripture of my panic attacks. An online friend from over the Atlantic says she would go out with me if in the area - the nous for this, and the component recontextualised from virtual to physical, moulding my limitations into a dialogue between history and the "now". "Stepping Into The Sun" is just that: a soundtrack I can invest with genuine power and significance, and one I hope buffers your confidence levels in tandem.

01. Craig Armstrong - Delay (from Piano Works)
02. Relmic Statute - A Template For Sand And Forest (from Morning Tapes)
03. Nest - Cad Goddeu (Revised) (from Retold)
04. Bas Van Huizen - Zwembocht (from Ontgalman)
05. Ian Hawgood - Let's Dance Until The Shallows Break (from Wolfskin)
06. Last Days - This Is Not An Ending (from The Safety Of The North)
07. Paul Bradley - Somatic (from Somatic)
08. RST - Tinn Sun II (from Tomorrow's Void)
09. August Stars - Inland Rainfall (from Midwinter)
10. Mister Vapor & Altus - Sparse Reaches (from Falling Out Of Orbit)
11. Bad Company - Bullit Time [stretched] (from Bullit Time)
12. Grouper - Down To The Ocean (from Cover The Windows And The Walls)
13. Relmic Statute - Illustration (from Morning Tapes)
14. P.D Wilder - Purple Brings Out The Green (from F/M)
15. Duncan Ó Ceallaigh - Low Across Dawn Waters (from Distant Voices, Still Lives)
16. Nest - Far From Land (from Retold)
17. Robedoor & Pochaunted - Roman Nose (from Hunted Gathering)
18. Jesu - Storm Comin' On (from Lifeline)
19. Ulrich Schnauss - Gone Forever (from In A Strangely Isolated Place)
20. Tori Amos - Northern Lad (from From The Choirgirl Hotel)

11 February 2010

Tetarise – k.a.m.a.

k.a.m.a. is a thrilling journey made of ambient/downtempo/idm infused with an epic soundtrack style. inspired by blurred memories of the past, the music is melancholy, euphoric, contemplative, frantic, moody and filled with emotion. quiet moments of gentle ambience contrast starkly with glitchy beat-driven passages, soaring leads and rasor-sharp synths.
"Unsaid words, unfinished deeds, hopelessly lost time - all of it is like an echo with a delay fading into compressed and distorted reverberation"

09 February 2010

Marc Doudin - Affection

"Marc's gorgeous crystalline ambiance blends beautifully with pianos and haunting reverb to form Affection, his latest masterpiece."
lovely minimalistic tones best played at very low volume late at night. Affection, as well as several other of Marc's EPs are available at the Wise Owl Records netlabel.

09 January 2010

Beat magazine article

a special message for my german-speaking readers:
the latest edition of the german-language Beat magazine, available on newsstands this week, features an article on making music wth the iPhone, and mentions the iPhone performance which i attended last year. along with the article is a photo of me during the performance! you can see a preview of this article and several other sections of the magazine here.
i have subscribed to Beat magazine for the past year and i can personally recommend it. along with the usual gear and software reviews, it features music recommendations and interviews not only with commercial artists, but netaudio and creative commons artists and netlables as well. not only that, the editor in chief @thomasraukamp and main contributor @tokafi are fellow netaudio enthusiasts and good buddies of mine on twitter.

03 January 2010

Ergo Phizmiz & Friends - The Faust-Cycle

i interrupt this longer-than-expected pause of hiddenplace music posts to feature what is certainly the most astonishing piece of netaudio i have ever come across. "The Faust-Cycle or, The House of Dr Faustus" is definitively the ultimate piece of sound collage.
completed over a period of 3 years, with a playing time of more than 14 hours(!!), and featuring an long list of collaborators, voice actors and guest musicians, words like "epic" do not even begin to describe the mind-boggling expansiveness of this work.
i usually try to listen to a release several times through before writing a review, but i must admit in this case, i have not yet heard the entire piece all the way through. what i have heard so far consists of surreal, dream-like spoken word narratives, interspersed with even more bizarre sample-based "songs" enveloped in extended passages of sound collage and audio pastiche made from a dizzying array of identifiable and unidentifiable musical pieces and sound sources. the moods range from melancholic to nostalgic, insane to inane, dream-like to nightmarish, classical to common; all unfolding like an opium-induced phantasmagoria played through a dust-covered 1920s phonograph found in an eccentric retired circus performer's attic. this is probably the most inaccessible piece i have featured on hiddenplace music, but certainly a thrilling and epic(?) piece of audio art for hardcore fans of avant-garde sound design.