Review: Over the last four decades, we've come accustomed to veteran electronic experimentalist Uwe Schmidt surprising us with each successive album. Even so, we were still pleasantly surprised by his latest Atom TM release, whose title - Walzeryklus ("Waltz Cycle") - offers a hint to his latest inspiration. Recorded with angel-voiced singer Lisokot, the album is entirely made up of tracks recorded in the 3/4 time signature of classic waltz. Naturally, these waltzes are unlike anything you'll have heard before, variously taking in neo-classical inspired ambient, eccentric left-of-centre synth-pop, bubbly electronica, fizzing Rephlex style "Braindance" and even a gtouch of wonky, mind-altering techno.
Review: Experienced experimentalists William Basinski and Lawrence English have long been friends, growing closer over the last half-decade thanks to a string of chance encounters in cities around the globe. Finally, they've joined forces on their first collaborative set, an album that was reputedly "simultaneously recorded in Brisbane and Los Angeles". It's a thing of beauty, with both of the long, poignant and slowly shifting ambient cuts being tinged by melancholy brought on by the loss of their mutual friend, experimental filmmaker Paul Clipson. Like "Selva Obscura", Clipson's work celebrated the act of getting lost in experiences that lie beyond everyday understanding.
Review: Four years have passed since Jessy Lanza last offered-up an album, the Jeremy Greenspan co-produced leftfield space-pop masterpiece that was "Oh No". While plenty has changed in Lanza's working life since then - she now lives in New York and improvises more with "modular and semi-modular" synthesizers - her commitment to delivering a genuinely unique take on 21st century synth-pop remains. Those versed in the work of the Junior Boys will hear the hand of regular collaborator Jeremy Greenspan in the chords, melodies and synthesizer settings, but "All The Time" is undoubtedly Lanza's vision. Combining her usual glassy-eyed vocals and ear-pleasing, often melancholic synth-pop sounds with the colourful vibrancy of future R&B and grooves that subtly reference all manner of styles (dubstep included), it's most perfect underground pop album you'll hear all year.
Review: It's been a couple of years since we last heard from Greta Cottage Workshop's experimental offshoot, Greta Cottage Woodpile. We'll forgive their inactivity, though, because this belated return to action is very good. Minden Nap Vasarnap is the work of little-known Hungarian artist Laslo, a producer who utilizes all manner of outboard hardware and effects units to create atmospheric and densely textured tracks that defy easy categorization. At times, his manipulations of tape hiss, reverberating samples, delay-laden bass pulses and trippy electronic motifs sound like some mutant form of dub techno; at others, these evocative and otherworldly soundscapes inch further towards becalmed electronica. Throughout, Laslo's compositions are never less than strangely alluring.
Review: Back in 2014, RVNG Intl. released "Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Volume 1", a compilation of pioneering early 1980s electronic music by composer and producer Craig Leon. Five years on, they're finally releasing a follow up - and this time the music is brand spanking new. Leon, with assistance from vocalist Cassell Webb, recorded the showcased music between 2015 and 2018. It explores similar sonic territory to the artist's celebrated early work, offering up an atmospheric, synthesizer-driven fusion of ambient, modern classical, New York minimalism, Radio Workshop style electronic experimentalism and new age soundscapes. The set more than lives up to its grandiose title, offering up atmospheric, extra-terrestrial musical movements that sound like they've been beamed down from a galaxy far, far away.
Review: Although best known for his groundbreaking - and, let's face it, usually superb - electronic work as Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel Lopatin is developing into a superb soundtrack composer. His latest is the score for Uncut Gems, an off-kilter and critically acclaimed crime thriller directed by his regular collaborators Josh and Benny Safdie. It's already won plenty of plaudits from those lucky enough to have heard it, with particular attention focused on Lopatin's use of both synthesizers and luscious orchestration, the role played by singers and a massive choir, the occasional nods towards new age ambient music, and a cast of collaborators that includes Gatekeeper and Eli Keszler. Clips were unavailable at the time of reviewing but one critic has already proclaimed it "the soundtrack of the decade". High praise indeed.
Review: Another superior ambient album delivered to you by Kranky Records. 'Plume' is the fourth album from electronic composer and visual artist Scott Morgan aka Loscil from Vancouver. Improvised organic instrumentation, including guitar and vibraphone entwine with computer generated electronic sequences, analogue with digital, to create an extremely serene and spiritual sonic marriage.
Review: Sound designer turned ambient explorer Scott Morgan is one of Kranky's longest-serving artists. He first appeared on the American label under his now familiar Loscil alias way back in 2001. Monument Builders is his eleventh solo full-length, and sees him effortlessly flitting between icy, slow-burning ambience, analogue soundtrack salvos (see the John Carpenter-ish "Red Tide", a bubbly blast of Cold War paranoia), cinematic tension-builders ("Straw Dogs"), throbbing, post-drone soundscapes ("Anthropocene"), and bittersweet mood pieces (the melancholic brilliance of "Weeds"). As you'd perhaps expect from a man whose day job involves scoring computer games, the album is hugely atmospheric and immersive.
Review: Since joining the label at the turn of the millennium, Scott Morgan AKA Loscil has become one of the admirably experimental imprint's most prolific artists. "Equivalents" is Morgan's ninth album for the label and sees him offer up eight meditations on a hazy, spaced-out theme. It's a slow-burn affair, where processed melodic elements, held-note chords and drone style aural textures slowly move across the sound space. It's a formula that guarantees goodness from start to finish, with the pulsing "Equivalent 3", ghostly "Equivalent 6", Mr Cloudy-esque "Equivalent 2" and the becalmed and poignant "Equivalent 8" standing out.