Monday, 8 October 2018

Various Artists 'Strange-Eyed Constellations 2' Review

Artist: Various

Title: Strange Constellations 2

Label: Disco Gecko Recordings

Released: 19th Oct 2018

The second release in this series, which places the focus on downtempo grooves, atmospheric soundscapes and ambient moods, mixing field recordings, classical instruments and electronics. Combining artists from the Disco Gecko label, associates of Toby Marks and a few which came as a result of asking a wider audience to send in their tracks for consideration. While the artwork chosen to complement the music once again fell to Zoe Heath (possibly the wife or a relative of Andrew?)

The album begins with Simon Power a games and film soundtrack producer who has created soundscapes for none other than Doctor Who! This piece entitled ‘Immerse’ layers classical piano over spacey atmospherics and while relatively short is a wonderful intro to the album. This is suitably followed by Banco de Gaia’s ‘Pavlov’s Children’ which delivers an eerie sense of descent as the atmospheric synths transports you into a chasm of monks chants and intangible spoken samples. Next on the agenda is Halcyon Daze’s ‘Orbiting a Distant Star’ which is a more string infused piece of electronica with Clanger’esque sound fx, that never cause any disharmony to the gentle beauty of the piece.

The atmospheric mood re-emerges with Experiments in Silence ‘Cerulaena side project from Spatalize (Neil Butler) I would draw comparison with Banco de Gaia, with some of the synth sounds floating alongside heavenly choral voices and chimes which blend seamlessly into the sound fx utilised, this really is an exceptional piece of work. I could be wide of the mark assuming the next track is one of the submitted pieces but I can’t say I am familiar with Project Transmission. However, I can say ‘At Dusk’ the track in question, sounds like a field recording of walking through a sodden marsh accompanied by an eerie electronic drone, while the sound of pipes entice you to follow and escape to freedom. The mood lightens somewhat and you almost sense you are stepping out of the marsh, with what I guess is the second of the submitted pieces ‘Beast from the East’ by Peter Toll. Where gentle delayed organ sounds are suitably counter-balanced with natural field recordings.

Label boss Toby Marks drops the Banco de Gaia moniker on this production ‘Sleep, Boy and Dream’ quite possibly, as it is far removed from his more groove guided world dance or ambient dub productions. Switching from gentle field recordings and spooky sound fx to electronic drones which at times times build a foreboding sense of terror. Another unfamiliar name to myself, Glenn Marshall restores the calm with a suitably ambient piece of electronica entitled ‘Spring Shade’. This is followed by a collaboration by Toby Marks and Andrew Heath, a short piece of field recordings, electronica and Andrew’s trademark piano.

The apples not falling far from the tree with the next piece ‘Falls’, again by an artist I’m personally not familiar with Phonsonic. A slow burning piece of electronica, where indistinct voices wash over the atmospheric backbone alongside the deeper bass notes. The strings employed by yet again another name I’m unfamiliar with Simon McCorry, initially provide a Celtic folk feel to ‘Anima Mechanica’, which transcends into far more of a classical piece throughout. The compilation comes to a close with ‘In the Presence of Angels’ where an aptly gentle piano and lovely guitar strings nestle in amongst the synth voices, a combination that embodies everything I love about Andrew Heath’s productions.

To summarise I don’t think this album has as much variation as it’s predecessor and in some cases may not appeal to those looking for an album of ambient dub or world music infused chill out. However, if when the mood takes me, then this is an album that appeals to me, it’s an immersive, experimental journey which I found to be very thought provoking and at times simply beautiful.

Reviewed by Woodzee.


Saturday, 29 September 2018

alucidnation 'Paracosmic' review

Artist: alucidnation

Title: Paracosmic

Label: Lucid Recordings

Released: 12th Oct 2018

Bruce Bickerton returns with another pure analogue release of electronic chill out, maintaining the format that gained him regular bookings at the Big Chill festivals throughout the noughties that took his productions to audiences around the globe.

This album begins with the short, simplistic and yet soothing intro ‘Take Flight’ which leads nicely into ‘Losing my Mind’ where the old skool bassline and vocal harmonies harp back to the Ibiza beach bar sound of the 90’s. The album continues to stamp an old skool impression upon me as I continue to listen through pleasant background music that either conjures up images of the Balearic beach or lazy days at an English riverbank.

That’s not to say there wasn’t tracks that rocked the boat somewhat (no pun intended) such as ‘Canoe Dreams’ which begins with a Folktronica feel leading into subtle 303 and sampled dialogue of a boy about his toy canoe. Which was followed by a more 303 structured piece ‘Supernova’ over layered with a space themed physics dialogue, which although is nothing new not only did it work well with the piece it held my interest in it’s own right.

In my opinion if you’re either a fan of Bruce’s work in general or fancy some fresh material in an old skool style, then this would probably suit you down to the ground for your moments of relaxation. The release is available in both CD and vinyl formats, which I would imagine goes hand in hand as a preferable format for those who seek out this sound.

Review by Woodzee


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Alpha Wave Movement 'Tranquility Space' Review


Alpha Wave Movement


Tranquility Space


Harmonic Resonance Recordings


11th Sept 2018

This album is advertised as the first volume in what one assumes will be a series. A compendium of serene space music from the Alpha Wave Movement catalogue spanning back into the 1990’s. Which is available to purchase in both CD and digital format.

If you’ve dipped into the AWM considerably extensive catalogue at all, then you will already be aware of the use of analogue synths, sequencers and Berlin school influence. The album begins with the title track, which is one of two previously unreleased tracks featured. The dark drones soon lighten with lush harmonies that are peppered with sci-fi effects and already you can draw comparisons to the likes of Klaus Shultz, Steve Roach or Erik Wollo.

This collection works well for me as it comprises pieces I’m unfamiliar with alongside enjoyable reminders of pieces I’ve previously listened to. ‘The Tender Sea of Space’ for example is possibly my favourite piece from the ‘Celestial Chronicles’ album due to the complete sense of relaxation achieved when listening to this beautiful composition. While ‘Slow Voyage’ a track I either haven’t heard before or at least can’t recall, maintains the feeling of calm utilising a heavenly chorus before petering out into Tangerine Dream like sequencers and this is just the first three of ten tracks.

You could argue the album is very much of a muchness. However, if the more ambient side of the AWM productions that appeal to you, or your a Berlin school fan whose unfamiliar with his work and you wish to dig deeper, then this collection is a good bet.

Review by Woodzee


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Jinx 'Dreamcatcher' Review

Artist: Jinx

Title: Dreamcatcher

Label: Real Life Music

Released: 28th Sept 2018

Jinx is the main project from Jan Pettersen, from Sweden a new discovery for me. Dreamcatcher is the follow-up to Meadows (2012) and Splinter Planet (2013), both of which were re-released on online platforms in April 2018. The influences on this album are to name a few Banco De Gaia, The Orb, Dreadzone, Eskmo, Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Gorillaz and Ayreon.

Overall this isn’t a bad album it’s certainly pleasant enough to sit down and chill to. Comprising electronica with acoustics, world music and a touch of the classical with moments you can pick up on the influences of the Orb and Banco De Gaia. It was the second track ‘Windswept’ that caught my attention initially, where a shuffling percussion and a more eminent flute lead to a very catchy section of acoustic strings. While there is certainly nothing wrong with the title track, personally I preferred ‘Once upon a time in Russia’ a piece of electronica where angelic choruses join eastern acoustics in a fashion not unlike Toby Marks himself.

Review by Woodzee


Saturday, 15 September 2018

Biome 'The Shores of Temenous' Review




The Shores of Temenous


Harmonic Resonance Recordings


August 2018

Biome is one of the side projects composed by Gregory Kyryluk (probably best known for his releases under the Alpha Wave Movement moniker). The objective for the project is exploring organic environmental soundscape infused electronic music with a focus on subtle rhythms and contemplative nuances.

Upon pressing play the first piece ‘Ryuku’ introduces itself with a blustery wind which immediately transports your minds eye to the shores of the aforementioned album title. Initially the sounds that rise through the wind are reminiscent of the far east and I can picture a temple upon the cliffs as the music settles and you slowly drift towards the shoreline. Whereas the next track ‘C ov Bioluminescence’ begins with more of a darker drone that lightens as you move through the piece as if you have reached said temple by nightfall and are looking back upon the ocean.

The album continues with the ‘Bamboo Windsong Mix’ of the title track a 20 minute journey of ambient tones and bamboo flutes that place you in a state of relaxation where those contemplative nuances really come into play. The approach to the next track ‘Chroma Sunset’ differs somewhat to the previous 3 in the sense there is more melody and less of an ambient drone. Although it’s a shorter piece I find there’s an appealing beauty that initially sets me in mind of Vangelis then as the loops are introduced Tangerine Dream springs to mind.

The final piece ‘Rain Temple’ reminds you once again that the natural environment changes, while the analogue synth sounds are very reminiscent of the 80’s (I suppose once again Tangerine Dream) Gregory employs them perfectly to gently guide you to the end of your journey.

Review by Woodzee


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Andrew Heath 'Evenfall' Review

Artist: Andrew Heath

Title: Evenfall

Label: Disco Gecko Recordings

Released: 21st Sept 2018

Andrew returns with another release of pieces where you can immerse yourself into deep ambience with lingering tones, occasional gongs, field recordings and minimal piano. If you enjoyed his previous releases then this doesn’t disappoint. However, if you’re unfamiliar with his work then don’t expect any beat orientated tracks like some of the fellow artists on the label, this really suits meditative alone time or simply lying back in a hammock or sinking into the sofa.

As you would probably imagine with releases of this nature many of the tracks are long, some reaching around the 15 minute mark and the changes both within and between the tracks are subtle and at times beautiful. It’s the kind of album where I find it hard to pick a favourite but if the mood strikes me it’s the journey throughout the album where the appeal lies.

For those who wish to immerse their minds into the live experience Andrew is launching the album with two gigs one in London on Friday 21st at The Old Church in Stoke Newington, alongside label head honcho Toby Marks (Banco De Gaia) and in Stroud on Friday 28th at The Museum in the Park. Whether you opt for the album, the show or both … dive deep and enjoy this wonderful music until you emerge fulfilled and relaxed at the other side.

Reviewed by Woodzee


Sunday, 26 August 2018

DF Tram Interview

To coincide with his new album release on Liquid Sound Design. DF Tram took some time out to talk about his albums, favourite record store haunts, movie mixes and more ...

1) Firstly, thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what first appealed to you about music?

Hi Martin, first off, thanks so much for having me, i'm a big fan of your reviews and DJ mixes.

I've been DJ'ing and producing for over 20 years. I'm originally from Los Angeles but moved to San Francisco about 23 years ago (upon moving to San Francisco I began to learn to DJ and produce). San Francisco is a very inspirational place to be, I never really got into the club scene much but the natural beauty and creative energy there is very strong. It informed my work greatly.

I was also lucky that I lived with my oldest brother there for a while, he had an amazing record collection. He brought me my first DJ mixer, and I would go through his record collection and learn to mix different styles of music, he had everything, krautrock, jazz, spoken word, comedy, minimal music and everything inbetween.I fell in love with music. Being a pretty shy person, it was a great outlet for me and a way to communicate without talking my own words. Furthermore, when I was about 20 years old I broke my neck in a car accident. This incident changed my life forever and made me determined to pursue my musical dream. That is why there is a track called 'Broken Neck' on my new album.

2) You utilise a lot of samples in both your DJ sets and productions. How did this come about and how large is your collection?

Sampling was huge for me, when I first heard music from acts like the Orb and The Irresistible Force I was amazed at how the samples pushed the music even further, creating pictures or movies inside my head. I wanted to be able to do the same, not just to make music but to tell stories.

I have a very big vinyl collection and the biggest part of it is my spoken word and comedy records. When I go crated digging it's what I seek out most. I love the happy accidents that happen with sampling and the way it allows the listener to put the familar in a new context. I'm also a big film fan, so a lot of that comes out in my sampling.

3) As a fan of back of the bucket vinyl rarities, do you have any favourite music stores?

Amoeba in San Francisco is a favourite. I lived very close to there so it was always dangerous. I spent way too much money in there over the years. Some of my favourite records were found at flea markets, charity shops, and small record shops in San Francisco, like Jack's Record Cellar in the Haight/Ashbury district. I even found some great records the other day in an outdoor flea market while visting Split, Croatia.

4) Your first album 'Illegal Lingo' was released on Steve Miller's (Afterlife) Subatomic UK label. How did this come about considering you were based in San Francisco?

I was a big fan of Afterlife and one day I contacted him about the possibility of doing a remix for him, he said 'Forget about the remix, how about I produce an album for you?' A lot of the tracks on 'Illegal Lingo' were tracks I'd been working on over the years but never finished, he helped see my vision through. I think it's a modern day 'lounge' album. I think it fits in nicely in the Subatomics label catalogue. The track 'The Idea' from the 'Illegal Lingo' album was my attempt at making an 'Afterlife' sounding track, I think it sort of succeeds in that.

5) Your new album 'Serenitay Infinitay' is an imminent release on Liquid Sound Design. How do you feel it differs from the first?

I think 'Serenitay Infinitay' is more of a diverse album and has a definite psychedelic edge. It is also a more mature album, I think. My love of different styles of music comes out a bit more on this album. There is dub, spoken word, easy listening, comedy, 70's style synth music, krautrock, sound design, progressive rock, hip-hop, lounge/exotica, electronic, folk and of course ambient.

6) You've recently moved to Malta. How do you feel the European chillout scene compares to the States?

I think the scene is much stronger in Europe than in the United States. Here in Europe people have been listening to chill out music a lot longer, so you hear it a lot more in restaurants, bars, lounges, advertisements etc. That is partly why I moved to Europe, my music is better received here, as people are much more accepting of it.

I also just love Europe a lot and always dreamed of being here. Malta is an interesting place. I have to thank Salvatore Muscat (Sequcnchill) for introducing me to Malta. He is the ambient 'Don' there and I'm glad to have connected with him.

7) If you could play at any venue in the world, what would be your first choice and why?

Hmm, interesting question. I love old venues, One of the best places I have ever played was at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. You could just feel the history there from all the old bands that had played there before. I'd love to do an audio/visual piece at an opera house or big old theatre one day. Maybe the 'Teatro Colon' in Argentina. I also love festivals an my audio/visual shows seem to do well at outdoor venues.

DF Tram & Cal-TV presents: The Great Movie Remix (Trailer) from John Callaghan on Vimeo.

8) You've collaborated and compiled 'The Great Movie Remix' and 'Stellar by Starlight' Could you tell us a little more about the process and what appeals to you about fusing your mixes with visual movie clips?

Movies had a profund influence on me, and some of my favourite music comes from film soundtracks and scores. I think the visual element adds a lot to the music I play. They just work well together. 'The Great Movie Remix' started off as a DJ mix I created with music and dialogue samples from my favourite movies. I would put dialogue from from one movie over the music of another movie.

An Irish visual artist 'Cal-TV heard this mix and went about finding all the films and movies I sampled and then edited in all the film clips. It's one of my favourite pieces I have collaborated on. It took the mix to another level, it's like a DJ mix but with movies. I liked it so much I did a couple of others with the visual artist 'Video Dub Poobah' ... 'Illegal Lingo' and most recently 'Stellar by Starlight' which features a lot of material from my new album 'Serinitay Infinitay. We just screened it at the Bestival festival earlier this summer.

9) Do you have any up and coming live shows? If so, where can people hear you play?

I am supporting the Orb on their up and coming tour of America. Needless to say this is a dream come true for me. I'll be playing for my hometown, family and friends (hopefully making some new ones too)

Thanks again so much for having me and the support.

Links ...