From absurd to ambient Olof Cornéer travels to the other side of himself in 'The Last Days of New Glasir'.

Olof Cornéer is one half of the electronic duo Dada Life who primarily produce big room EDM/Electro House. Dada Life is a reference to the absurdist movement of the early 1900’s in Switzerland which makes a lot of sense when you sit down and strap in for any of their outlandish music videos and bombastic beats. Priding themselves on being uncompromising in their approach to derisory sensibilities, Dada life were consistent on delivering music that pushed the boundaries of the of the silly and well, absurd within EDM and Electro House.  

After taking some time out in 2014 to address some serious health issues Olaf started a new solo project in Night Gestalt which carries a narrative based around space exploration in reaction to the desolation of our planet. The concept albums are to be made in three parts, each telling their own story as part of a larger theme. 

‘The Last Days of New Glasir’ is the title track from the second album which was released on the 10th of May and I think it’s fair to say that Night Gestalt is as far removed from the productions of Dada Life as is the fictional ONE spacecraft Olaf imagined is from earth. 

The track with it’s free floating synth notation/melodies and vocals feels like that image we have seen a thousand times of a stunning isolated iceberg floating away into arresting oblivion surrounded by nothing except its own tragic fate. There are uplifting moments among some truly spectacular melancholy.

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Trentemøller aims for something different with 'Sleeper'

At this point in his career, what hasn’t Trentemøller accomplished? Throughout his ouvre, the Copenhagen-based musician has never failed to evolve his sound with each release, while at the same time maintaining the musical sensibilities that has made his sound his very own. That balance of exploring new forms and staying true to himself has only grown his fanbase over the years, as evidenced by a completely sold-out world tour in support of his last album. Today, we get a taste of his first original music since 2017 with the single, ‘Sleeper.’

As you may have guessed from the lush-yet-bleak video above, Sleeper lives far from the banner of ‘indie-electronic’ that has acted as a catch-all for Trentemøller’s various sounds thus far. While he has always had a preternatural knack for arranging compositions that build to satisfying crescendos, Sleeper also progresses in a decidedly orchestral manner. In fact, we don’t even hear a percussive element until halfway into the track, and even then, it is only minimally audible. But Trentemøller hallmarks are yet ever-present, from his signature detuned synths to his lush, harmonic atmospheres. All of these elements coalesce into a beautiful, if subtle, reflection that feels at once melancholic and nostalgic. In other words, it fits its title perfectly.

You can stream Sleeper over on Spotify, or download a copy for yourself on Trentemøller’s Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

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Christopher Willits crafts music for experiences with 'Coast'

Fixture of the SF ambient/experimental scene and Ghostly International mainstay Christopher Willits is back with a forthcoming album titled ‘Sunset,’ an apt name for an album that he has given very specific instructions for listening: "Begin the music 15 minutes before the sun sets." The album releases on the 14th June 2019, but Ghostly has given us a peek inside by releasing a track from the album, ‘Coast.’

Willits’ music has always had a visual aspect to it, but only in the last few years has that become more explicit, such as with his 2014 album ‘Opening’, released explicitly as a visual album. And now, almost as a modal extension, Willits moves from the visual realm to the experiential. The album tracks with the setting sun, moving from warm to cool, and offering a sort of closure to the day. The track ‘Coast’, the 2nd on the album, indeed starts warm and lush, rolling and evolving with layers upon layers of washed out guitar, and ends with just the hint of airy rhythm that surely signals the encroaching darkness to come. We’ve got a few sunsets to go before June 14, but you would do yourself well to accompany those after with this album.

Stream ‘Coast’ above, and head over to the Ghostly International website to pre-order the full album.

— review by autonomy

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Atelier Pink Noise finds solace in quietude with 'Meditation of silence'

Continuing in the rich tradition of Japanese ambient, environmental, and new age music, Atelier Pink Noise releases a brand new full-length, 58-minute long album titled ‘Draw a Sleeps.’ Today, we get to listen to a selection from the album, a track titled ‘Meditation of silence.’ For the uninitiated, pink noise is a mathematical noise function that is perceived very similarly to soundscapes found in nature, such as waterfalls.

Atelier Pink Noise, however, instead of using pink noise in his compositions, goes straight to the source and samples the world around him. The sounds of forests, water, small animals, and more reverberate through his compositions, processed and warped to evoke new aural worlds, excitingly fresh yet still intimately familiar. APN blends these sources beautifully with rich, uplifting synth chords that are nominally abstract, but still manages to provoke a narrative within the mind, if one focuses clearly enough. Indeed, I would invite you to experience this track, as well as the rest of the album, in a peaceful and intimate setting, with the lights low and your eyes closed. Perhaps you’ll even see the natural sources from which these sounds originated from.

Stream ‘Meditation of silence’ above, and listen to the entire album over on Spotify.

— review by autonomy

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Ambient maestro Loscil recasts Souns' raw energy into a truly beautiful form

Building on the success of his 2017 album, ‘Aquamarine’, fixture of the Vancouver scene Michael Red, under his ambient alias Souns, prepares a remix EP featuring hand-picked artists to re-work his track ‘Sun Inside The Sun’. Close followers of ADSR may remember Michael Red from his performance at an ADSR show in Vancouver a couple years back, but since then his ambient project Souns has really taken off. The original ‘Sun Inside The Sun’ is a beautifully chaotic track, with pulses echoing about, capturing the energy and entropic dynamics of a hidden world.

Today, we get a peek at the remix from another Vancouverite, and prolific ambient artist in his own right, Loscil. Loscil takes the original’s syncopated form and morphs it into a rhythmic force. If Souns’ original track were stone blocks, rough, weathered, jagged and beautiful in its own right, Loscil’s remix would be a cathedral, with calculated flying buttresses and meticulously carved pillars. It’s a gorgeous rework, with each element fully coordinated with the whole, slowly building to a harmonious crescendo.

Stream the Loscil remix above, and if you like it, hop over to the Souns Bandcamp to pre-order. The EP is set for release on 31 May 2019 on Subtempo.

— review by Autonomy

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Modulations from the future with Romania's 'Electrons in Slow Motion'

Electrons in Slow Motion (EISM) is a cross-genre electronic project developed by Bucharest-born artist/producer Marius Copel. Combining analog synths with sparse soundscapes, Copel weaves immersive audio environments rich in dissonant drones, field recordings, and far-off arpeggiations. One part sci-fi dream world and one part distant dystopian universe, EISM dabs from his monochrome palette to create a sound that is uniquely his own.

His recently released debut album ‘Ecstatic Technologies’ boils down these central themes and concepts into a cohesive 8 track journey into the abyss. The album opens with ‘Breaking Eleusis’ which Marius describes as a “virtual pilgrimage to an ancient site”. Electronic chatter contrasts with reverb-soaked keys to slowly draw the listener into this mysterious and enigmatic world. The journey continues through a number of environments ranging from the subdued sounds of ‘Nyonoksa’ to the more tumultuous, beat-driven ‘Satomi’.

I would even go so far as to call the release a kind of ‘concept album’ as the tracks flow so well together and feature a steady narrative throughout. Marius describes the tracks as some sort of “sonic vehicle” or “machine” each with a unique initiation stage, environment and context. Regardless of the descriptor, ‘Ecstatic Technologies’ by Electrons in Slow Motion shows us that perhaps the future is closer than we think.

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Audio of the Urban with Sweden's Victor Öberg

Victor Öberg is an urban planner and musician residing in the southern most part of Sweden. His music goes hand in hand with his research, and focuses heavily on interpreting urban issues mainly concerning urban alienation and identity creation of both people and place in urban society.

Utilizing an array of hardware effects and modular synths, Victor designs and configures sonic environments to reflect these urban issues. His Instagram features a variety of dawless jams and sketches pleasing to both the audio and visual palette. Today’s track ‘Insula’ serves as a progression from these shorter jams into what will be Victor’s first solo album set to release later this year.

Insula features a minimal landscape of plucked arpeggiation, undulating clouds of noise, and rich resonant harmonies. A kind of playful utilitarianism permeates throughout the track, which really shows Öberg’s concept coming into fruition. ”The song itself is a brief sketch of the insula as a building type; part home part business. A concept that has shaped the way we think of city centers throughout history."

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Robot Koch delivers an elevated piece of emotive electronica in 'Movement I'

Robot Koch is a Berlin born, Los Angeles based artist/composer who has cultivated a dream list of career achievements that would humble most successful artists these days. I could easily write pages about the gigs, collabs, labels, and awards but instead will leave this upto the inquisitive reader. I will however reference a quote from the late John Peel who described his music as “Strange and wonderful pop music from the future” because it’s a good segue into my impressions of his music. 

‘Movement I’ is simply a highly emotive piece of electronica that grabs you from the first note and wraps it's arms around you in the most intense embrace and doesn’t let go until it’s last phrase. The opening three repeating notes almost have the same reverence as a John Williams or Carpenter theme. There is something profound and transcendent about the repeating notes and their effect on our senses. While it would be easy to reference the impact of this kind of notation from such iconic, classic 70’s horror sound tracks it wouldn’t be an accurate comparison because these theme tunes are minimalistic and draw on a sparse sensibility to create tension and dread. ‘Movement I’ does quite the opposite, it creates warmth, melancholy and hope. Offset from the somber melody and opening urgency are lush layers of reversed vocals, soaring synth lines and flourishes of orchestral rapture that whisk you into a frenzy until it’s abrupt end. What you are left with is a piece of electronica that has the emotional range of a film score while being rooted in genre production styles that gives a piece of music like ‘Movement I’ that kind of awe that warrants all of the above dream list achievements. 

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Get to know yourself with Semena Mertvykh's debut EP

There is a sense of resigned solitude on Semena Mertvykh’s debut EP. It’s a feeling not uncommon in Russian art, where Mertvykh hails from, and it fits quite well with the thick, syrupy detuned chords that sludge their way through the EP. Those chords, echoing the same analog synth patch techniques of Boards of Canada, are sometimes harmonic, sometimes slightly dissonant, but always lonely. Perhaps it makes sense, then, for Mertvykh to not only self-release this EP, but self-title it as well. Even in the video for ‘Decay’, the airiest of the tracks that reminds me of Dedekind Cut’s more recent work, not a single soul is visible. Clearly, this is music made for the self — self-reflection, self-evaluation, self-control, self-actualization. Watch the video for Decay above, and you’ll see. Just make sure to do it by yourself.

You can check out the rest of the EP as well on Spotify, or pay what you want to download on Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

Semena Mertvykh on the web:

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NOMVDSLVND finds his place with 'Belong'

NOMVDSLVND (pronounced ‘nomads land’) may live in Toronto, but as many of us in large cities can attest to, having a home and knowing your place are two very different things. Despite a background in dance, NOMVDSLVND crafts music that, instead of compelling an energetic dancefloor, interrogates the uncertainty that comes with trying to find one’s community. Perhaps his transition from dance to music was the creative spark for this idea. Many of the tracks on Part 1 of the 2-part release ‘More Harm Than Good’ slip in and out of musical ideas at ease, like a wallflower timidly testing the waters of a gathering. NOMVDSLVND creates lush backdrops for these ideas, mixing field recordings, found sounds, and broken beats that make each track an entirely new space.

On ‘Belong’, which you can hear above, he uses Rhodes-like chords to invoke a melancholy mood, a sense of feeling unsettled, of knowing what you want but not knowing how to get there. Broken beats skitter underneath, dropping in and out of the track, underpinning that anxious feeling. Punctuating this idea, he uses heavily processed vocal snippets throughout that further capture the distance we can sometimes feel between where we are and where we want to be. It’s an intoxicating concoction.

‘More Harm Than Good Part 1: Here For Now’ is out March 8th on Toronto label- ‘Bedroomer’ and can be preordered now. If you liked ‘Belong’, check out lots more over on Bedroomer’s Soundcloud.

— review by autonomy


More from NOMVDSLVND on Soundcloud or Spotify.