Review: Ten – The Fog Bank

tenalbumphoto_450px-image-size

Label: Ten Recordings

In many ways, post-rock, ambient, and drone music have a lot in common. All three genres seek, through different methods, to wrap the listener up in a cocoon of sounds, enveloping them in sounds either warm or starkly oppressive, taking their consciousness away to somewhere else. It’s a task that Ten succeed at on new album The Fog Bank. Though nominally an ambient group, there’s a lot of arresting melodies here that mean that tag doesn’t quite fit perfectly; but the overall effect of the music makes it accurate enough. Full of warm drones, blissful melodic lines and an aching sense of beauty, The Fog Bank is a record to sink in to late at night.

Continue reading

Review: Julia Kent & Jean DL – The Great Lake Swallows

GZH84DP-Sleeve-Small

Label: Gizeh Records

There were points when I was listening to The Great Lake Swallows when I couldn’t help but question what the point of music is. A lot of music that is made can be lumped in to fairly large, understandable categories when it comes to motivation – the desire for self-expression, whether with or without words; the simple joy of playing with friends; or dreams of becoming a rock star or impressing someone you’re attracted to. But then, there is music that feels more serious, where motivations and meanings run deeper than what can easily be expressed. It is to this last category that The Great Lake Swallows belongs, with the collaboration between Canadian cellist Julia Kent and Belgian guitarist/tape machine manipulator Jean D.L. being a record that speaks of great things, that taps in to that sense of true meaning, expressing something universal that transcends words and culture. It is beautiful; it is captivating; and it is emotionally devastating.

Continue reading

Review: noemienours – As a Bear Doth her Whelps

a0597802506_16

Label: Self-released

Now on to record number three, the aesthetic of noemienours is becoming well-established. Rooted in an underground DIY mindset, and with a vegan perspective, the music on these records is beautifully low-fi, filled with a tension and tenderness that is at once arresting and soothing; the kind of music that is perfectly suited for late-night listening, to quieten the noise in your head. New record As a Bear Doth her Whelps continues to use bears as a central part of imagery and aesthetic, but increasingly this feels like a metaphor to express ideas about isolation, society, and disconnect from nature. It’s sad, beautiful, and quite moving.

Continue reading

Review: Brianna Kelly / Sympathy Pain – split

Whited Sepulchre_NAC_3-Panel_JCard_FRONT_forAI copy

Label: Whited Sepulchre Records

The music contained on the split between Brianna Kelly and Sympathy Pain is the kind of thing that we all need within our lives; something to unwind with, to let go of our cares and worries as we try to find some sort of inner peace. Warm, and comforting, this is a split of soul-soothing ambient and emotional post-rock, that possesses a human touch and tenderness that can so often be lacking in the genres, making this a release to recommend both to those who already appreciate said styles, but also those who aren’t usually fans.

Continue reading

Album of the Day: Aires – Naturalismo

cover

Label: Colectivo Casa Amarela 

I’ve long been a fan of the music of Aires, with his mix of field recordings, ambient, and drones having a calming, meditative quality to them. Those feelings are present on latest recording Naturalismo, which carries a restorative, positive feeling to its minimalist sounds. This is music for not so much unwinding at the end of the day, but of letting yourself unfurl, of releasing every bit of tension within body and mind, and emerging from the process feeling refreshed.

Continue reading

noemienours – Bear Meditations LP

cover

Label: Self-released

Last year’s Songs From The Life of Bears EP by noemienours was an unexpected delight, an achingly tender and beautiful collection of four songs themed around animal rights. Cloaked in tape hiss and fragile vocals, the EP was the kind of record perfectly suited to late-night solitude, full of melancholy. Follow-up Bear Meditations LP picks up where that EP left off, offering a half hour of low-fi, slow and sparse lullabies that are all the more effective for how gentle they are, and serves as an apt demonstration that there’s more ways to get your message across via music than shouting and screaming.

Continue reading

Ulnar – Dreaming Of Sailing Further West

cover

Label: Colectivo Casa Amarela

Given that Ulnar comprises of Rui P. Andrade and  Vitor Bruno Pereira (of Aires, Verãopop, Shikabala), my expectations were quite high going in to Dreaming Of Sailing Further West. The duo had previously worked together on Pânico-Ambiente, a record of harsh noise, but this new release leans more towards the ambient side of the noise spectrum. There are harsher elements than a typical ambient album would contain, but Dreaming Of… casts a deeply meditative, captivating spell over the listener for its half hour duration, conjuring up atmospheres of desolation, loss, and yet also something close to redemption.

Continue reading