Alaskan Tapes breaks hearts in 'The Times Are Tired'

Brady Kendall  known also as Alaskan Tapes is a Canadian producer and composer based out of Toronto. Diving into his discography you are quickly submerged in a smorgasbord of soundscapes, plucked guitar and a host of lavish, atmospheric strings and synths that make up the body of his work; exploring the realms of ambient, drone and fragile electronica. Brady’s work can be heard on a variety of short films, and while Kendall has created some conventional songs, he seems mostly interested in the abstract; drawing you gently into the most intimate of spaces. 

‘The Times Are Tired’ is no exception. The unmistakable sound of a sliding steel string of an electric guitar opens the track giving you a brief impression that we are about to settle into some raw vocal/guitar rendition. Instead delicate elements soften the steel strumming and elevating strings join to harmonize what I can only describe as a moment in music that embodies heat-break and loss. This is Alaskan Tapes at his best. While, if I am completely honest, I really wanted more from this piece. For me it ends too soon, it feels like I was introduced to the most beautiful of moments only to have it taken away. Whatever Brady’s intention, we are treated to something special if only for a fleeting moment.

Catch more from Alaskan Tapes here:

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Drifting Resonant moments in Non-Functional Harmony's ---a---

Non- Functional Harmony is a British-born producer based in Berlin who since 2017 has been steadily releasing ambient, techno/house inspired music. While there is little online that reveals a profile of his identity and back-ground there is enough to establish that N.F.H is a diverse and highly skilled producer with an impressive range in skills that see spectrum leaping genres come together under his brand of electronica. Jumping from synth pop, to house to ambient, to drone and the avant grade N.F.H. leaves a deep emotive imprint in all he touches. 

—-A—- is a collection of field recordings, distorted vocals and lush harrowing synths that creates a clutter-free collage of sonic stills that feels like the breath of space. It feels as if you are orbiting in the inner working of some kind of underlying sub-conscience. Snapshots that focus on a multitude of different moments that drift in and out. N.F.H. creates a lucid landscape that has the power to be very emotionally resonant, the reason being that no matter what genre or track you are listening to from N.F.H. you are fully immersed, fully engaged, feeling every note because N.F.H. is; it’s transparent and transcendent. 

While N.F.H. does have more than one ambient/drone release under his belt I would urge you to check out his Spotify or Soundcloud page to discover how broad and fully realized N.F.H. range is. While doing my research some tracks stood out to me and I think they are worth your attention, ‘The Fire’ and ’18 Frames’ in particular but be sure to check out more for what I am sure will be some new firm favourites waiting for you.

Catch more from Non-Function Harmony from the links below: 

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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.

Catch more from Night Gestalt here:

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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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Ambient duo Windy and Carl remind us to get back to nature

Every now and then we need a little reminder to slow down, refresh and relax from the big city hustle and bustle. In the Great Lakes region of Canada and America that often means getting back to nature and heading to a cabin, cottage or campsite. Not only is time in the forest, mountains and lakes good for you, but for husband and wife ambient duo ‘Windy and Carl’ it brings a whole lot of creative inspiration too.

”To this day, Carl and I would rather be outside than in. We would rather see the wind cause the trees to sway and dance, listen to all the voices of the forest animals, and hear the chorus of insects, than be stuck inside..”

Their new track ‘Forest Trails’ draws heavily from the natural world, featuring a slowly morphing soundscape of chirping birds, brisk wind and swaying trees. There is just enough structure to make the duo’s signature sound audible. Relaxed reverb and delay drenched guitar meanderings lay nicely alongside the backdrop of soothing and calm field recordings.

’Forest Trails’ serves as the second single for the upcoming release of ‘Pure Sounds of Michigan’ a unique ambient album showcasing the abundance of natural spaces the state has to offer as interpreted by some of the regions best musicians and producers. The album is set for a May 22nd release on Detroit-based Assemble Sound, and was imagined, created, and released by Michigan’s tourism arm, Travel Michigan as a part of the Pure Michigan campaign, in conjunction with the label.

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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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Monochrome drone from Ukraine's Kuvallini

Kuvallini grew up between the factories and gates, on the frozen tundra of Siberia. He spent years travelling through places, reflecting on his own wandering path in life. These experiences have been boiled down into his own tunes which contain a neoclassical vibe, oscillating noise and swinging broken beats.

His new track ‘Exaltation’ happened from spontaneous improvisation with a piano and an old-fashioned Russian synthesizer called the ‘Lyra’ which mainly oscillates unpredictable noise and rhythm patterns. Everything was then processed through a vintage analog stereo spring reverb, the Korg GR-1. 

As Kuvallini explains: “most of the pads were recorded in reverse and added to the compressed piano with full wet reverb. The sweeping noise is just from a pedal called ‘Drone Thing’ by Electro-Faustus, which then went through a Vox wah controlled by my foot.” 

Giving ‘Exaltation’ a closer listen and a bit of patience leads to great rewards for the listener. At just over 8 minutes long the track really finds it’s stride after a few minutes in and unfolds into a moody atmosphere of film noir and dark brooding drones. Off kilter percussion gives the track a slightly dizzying feel as layers of noise encircle the cloud of sound.

Hear more deep and desolate drone from Kuvallini on the following platforms:
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New release from Vancouver's Datataste

Our friends 'datataste' have just released a new album, check it out over on their bandcamp!

"Sigil Tree" represents a sigilization of sound. The source material, largely found buried in an old hard drive and in project files, had been forgotten several times over before being assembled, deeply augmented, and performed for these recordings.