Mixtape
March 2022
AMBIENT • EXPERIMENTAL • ELECTRONIC • INSTRUMENTAL
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
March 2022
AMBIENT • EXPERIMENTAL • ELECTRONIC • INSTRUMENTAL

A bit about last month.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

From jazz minimalism to entrancing arrangements passing by ambient soundscapes and eerie drones, this is music for luxuriating in contemplation. 

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: when you're trying to overcome a creative block and get your ideas moving.

CHAPTER 1

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Open, Pt. I - Tapani Rinne, Juha Mäki-Patola
2022

We open with a collaborative album between two Finnish musicians who joined forces after meeting online in February 2021. Informed by Finland's icy climate and long winters, this spacious and immersive work combines contemplative jazz minimalism with ambient soundscapes. On 'Open, Pt. I', repetitive piano motifs overlayed with a gentle sax convey a certain calmness and intimacy, striking a careful balance between the chilly and the warm.

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Diskmusik VIII - Jon Opstad
2022

London-based composer Jon Opstad combines contemporary classical elements with electronics to generate rough and smooth textures. His latest album, Extensions, is based around sounds produced by the Yamaha U3 Disklavier - an upright piano that can be controlled via a computer. Listen to the delicate 8th piece from these works titled 'Diskmusik'.

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Still - Loscil
2022

All-time ambient favorite Loscil strikes again with a new compilation of music he wrote for various dance projects over the last eight years. Unfurling gradually over nine and a half minutes, 'Still' is a transportive piece of repetitive electronics gliding over chopped high-pitched voices.

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Every Solstice & Equinox - A Winged Victory for the Sullen
2021

We continue with neoclassical-ambient duo Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran. Composed as the score of a theatre production based on the Italo Calvino novel of the same name, their 4th album Invisible Cities is a sentimental one of sorrowful grandeur. It relies mainly on piano chords, arpeggiated strings, and distortion to convey a sense of drama that captivates and intrigues.

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Deipkier - Craven Faults
2020

Towers of holy drones, wide-spreading basses on the bottom, and soft harmonies shifting in the abyssal middle on this spellbinding track from the electronic outfit Craven Faults. This is stark and poignant minimalism. Listen closely, and superficially repetitive arrangements soon accrue compelling layers and depth, gradually revealing variations in build-ups and richness of detail that rewards close and repeated listening.

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The Earthbound Fox - Scanner
2022

Polish composer Olga Wojciechowska (a.k.a. Strië) released Struktura in 2015 to a very limited audience, due to its physical-only format. Earlier this year, Robin Rimbaud (a.k.a. Scanner) revisited the eerie, haunting recordings to provide further interpretations and breathe new life into the album. Akin to the sound of waves continuously crashing on a shore, this song strips the melodies and textures to their core, adding an entirely analog element to Olga's detailed originals.

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Sora No - Ben Bertrand
2021

I got introduced to Belgian composer Ben Bertrand last December at Madeiradig, an annual tiny experimental music festival held on the island of Madeira. I was immediately drawn to his use of bass clarinet and numerous machines to create a web of abstract, entrancing sound structures. Taken from his third album Dokkaebi, 'Sora No' features melodic and harmonic forms fostering a sense of wonder in listeners. Listen up and look in.

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Interval Signal - Biosphere
2022

Geir Jenssen, one of ambient's most respected figures, returns to ambient techno with Shortwave Memories, his biggest project in a long time. He describes it as "a return to the age-old analog hardware of the late '70s and early '80s". It's not an album I found myself returning to, but something about those otherworldly synths sounds stood out. 'Interval Signal' feels remote, strange, and disconnected. Its bleep makes me think of a satellite lost in orbit, stuck in an endless loop.

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OT - KMRU
2021

We continue with more introverted electronic music by Joseph Kamaru, another beautiful Madeiradig discovery. With work grounded on field recording, noise, and improvisation, a live act by the Kenyan musician is likely to break any preconception you might have about noise music. This is an artist that deconstructs and radically refocuses his music to explore new contours of experimental and ambient sound design.

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CHOREA DUPLEX - Mario Batkovic, James Holden
2021

Mario Batkovic plays the accordion, but he doesn't follow any of the rules you would typically associate with that instrument. In 2021, he released his avant-guard debut INTROSPECTIO to widespread critical acclaim. A grandiose, deeply touching album of ethereal beauty. Reminiscent of Pauline Anna Storm, and with James Holden on the electronics, this song brims with glistening twinkles and transcend.

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QUIS EST QUIS - Mario Batkovic, Colin Stetson
2021

This album is too good to stop at one song. With devout vocals and saxophonist Colin Stetson's reverential low-end thrums, get ready to be entranced by repetitive, gradually-ascending sound arrangements on this one. Steve Reich or Lubomyr Melnyk fans will appreciate the increasingly frenzied keys work.

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PRIMORDIUM FINALE - Mario Batkovic
2021

Alright, last one before we move on.

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Wind - Melanie Velarde
2016

Melanie Velarde is a Berlin-based artist who's been experimenting with music and art, playing in bands, exhibiting in galleries, and exploring her fascination with field recordings at length. On 'Wind', voices drift as ghostly blurs through fluid, soft synths, creating an eerie nostalgic mood.

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Fear And Loathing In Gotham: Gotham Lullaby - Meredith Monk, Collin Walcott
1981

Meredith Monk is one of those accomplished artists who are on another level. With a practice spanning composition, piano, art, dance, film, and drama, the 80-year-old artist started experimenting with her voice in the sixties and is a pioneer of what is now called "extended voice technique." She leverages her voice as a singular instrument for communication, creating music that sounds as primordial as it does futuristic.

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Arrows of Faith - CoH
2022

With music often made of digital glitches and clicks, CoH is one of the most fascinating laptop artists of the experimental electronica underground. On his 2022 album WYGG (While Your Guitar Gently), he turns attention to the guitar with an unparalleled practice flickering between acoustic and re-synthesized strings.

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Station 3 - Field Works
2022

Field Works (March 2021 mixtape) is an exceptional project, one of the most deliberately cognizant works of ambient and field-recorded music. What does the Earth sound like? In Stations, the 10th volume in the Field Works series, producer Stuart Hyatt uses the sounds of the Earth itself to approach that question. Featuring contributions from Laraaji, Alva Noto, Masayoshi Fujita, Afrodeutsche, Penelope Trappes, Hanna Benn, and more, the tracks are based on recordings from seismic monitoring stations spread throughout the United States. Tectonic noises become partners to human voices.

CHAPTER 2

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