Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reviews of 2015

It's been a great year, only slightly marred by technical difficulties. We've heard some new music from some really great people this year. I'd like to thank all of the artists who were featured for making the music, and then allowing it to be posted here.


And thank you to our burgeoning reader base as well! This has been a banner year, and your sharing and retweeting on Twitter have increased our readership tenfold. I can't adequately express my gratitude.

So here it is, the final index of 2015, our Reviews of 2015 list:


15/01/04 Shikantaza by Herr Absurd

15/01/18 Back to the Past by Odd Common

15/01/25 Angels in Black and White by Isotherme

15/02/01 Mechanisms by Chrissie Caulfield

15/02/08 Four Corners by Hilliat Fields

15/02/15 Nail by Isotherme

15/02/22 Amygdala by MicrotuneX

15/03/01 Oscillator Theory by Rainer Straschill

15/03/08 Inveniam Viam #RPM 2015 by Stuart Russell

15/03/15 Urban Fairy Tales by Nystada

15/03/22 Infamy #RPM2015 by Chrissie Caulfield

15/03/29 Robot by Elektronische Existenz

15/04/05 Slow Motion by Meter Bridge

15/04/12 Thesis by MicrotuneX

15/04/19 Middle Distance by Bare Island

15/04/26 7-5-7 by Roofhare

15/05/03 Strangers by MicrotuneX

15/09/22 Intoxication by Elektronische Existenz

15/09/29 Places & Traces by Chrissie Caulfield

15/10/06 Die Stadt Unter der Stadt by Kanal Drei

15/10/13 Destroyed by Business by Wet Dentist

15/10/20 Train à Grande Vitesse by Stuart Russell

15/10/27 Glimmer & Glow by Hilliat Fields

15/11/10 Available Light by Iceman Bob

15/11/17 Glyphs by Avvenir

15/11/24 Seven Seals (And One Spell) by Trium Circulorum

15/11/24 Progressive Thanksgiving by Various

15/12/01 The Strange New World Is Now by Red Clouds

15/12/08 Utopia by Ian Haygreen

15/12/14 No Room? 2015 by Various

15/12/15 Breath by Liquid in Plastic

1512/22  Sarahdipity by Roofhare

15/12/22 The Kees Files by Sarah Schonert

For last year's list, see: Reviews of 2014

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Kees Files

I was happy to hear about he collaboration between sonic artists Sarah Schonert and Kees de Groot. The collaboration became a pair of EP's, concurrently released. The Kees Files is Sarah Schonert's contribution, while Sarahdipity is Kees de Groot's.

Playful compositions with novel effects and literate lyrical content await you. A wonderful shimmering pervades, and the instruments resonate through atmospheric layers. Sarah always reminds me of relaxing daydreams, and the tonal and timbral qualities of the instrument set chosen reinforce this.

The sound is clean and and the mix is well balanced. The interesting vocal treatments stay with me. I'm sure I'll be returning to this collection. 

You can find Sarah on Twitter as @SarahSchonert and on Soundcloud

Sarahdipity

I was happy to hear about he collaboration between sonic artists Roofhare (Kees de Groot) and Sarah Schonert. The collaboration became a pair of concurrently released EP's; Sarahdipity is Roofhare's contribution, while The Kees Files is Sarah Schonert's.

As outlined in the detailed and extensive liner notes, the two created sound sets for each other, and this is the result.

It's a fine result on both albums. Roofhare creates a mystery and and a slight tension, but we delve ever further into the dream.

The trading of ideas goes a bit beyond mere electronics as well, as these two artists are already eclectic to begin with. The sound environment is detailed and interesting. Very big sounds are used, and they create big worlds. This is a lot of fun.

You can find Roofhare on Twitter as @Groovehare and on Soundcloud.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Breath

The new EP Breath by Liquid in Plastic is a very unusual collection of soundscapes, in an electro-chamber music kind of vein. Each piece is interesting and engaging, and the mix is clear and well thought out. The sound design is interesting as well, with acoustic samples blending nicely with more treated and electronically produced sounds.

The cinematic quality of this EP is excellent as well. I first listened to this to review on Sunday morning, and found it fine Sunday morning fare, and very entertaining.

You can follow Steven White on Twitter as @stevenjwhite

Monday, December 14, 2015

No Room? 2015

It's always fun this time of year to see lots of new releases and compilations for the season from many artists. I was glad to find that the proposed "No Room? 2015" compilation was released, and had a lot of fun listening to some very diverse works from the Sound Collective.

This is, of course a charity effort. From the Bandcamp page, the liner notes only read: "This album (is) the second fundraiser from sound artists to benefit the homeless at Christmas- funds raised donated to Crisis UK." Awesome art is provided by Martin Tanton.


Some scatterfilter blog regulars are included, Chrissie Caulfield, Stuart Russell, Wolfgang Merx, and Roger Palmeri. As well, some exciting artists that I've been following, but haven't reviewed are included as well, such as Lauren Redhead. Also: a surprise piano piece from Adam Greenhead (Coloured Lines).

A great listen, and a good bargain to boot. Enjoy the sound design.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Utopia

Imaginative soundscapes await you in Ian Haygreen's new release Utopia. Sonorous synth drones play in big sonic environments. Samples colour the pieces, furthering their cinematic quality.

The titles recall a plot of searching for "Utopia". There's no lyric, no traditional vocals, only recordings of conversations in the background as if a television was left on in the corner. Mellotronlike choral tones provide drama, ambiguity creates the story. It's an instrumental exploration.

In the notes, Ian mentions the inspiration for this was Tangerine Dream's mid-seventies stuff. I enjoyed Ian's take on it. Modern techniques creep in, and he produces a nice update of the ideas, which I found very well executed.

You can find Ian on Twitter as @IanHaygreen or on soundcloud.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Strange New World is Now

Deep rich sound resonates, the space is big. Red Clouds's new Album the strange new world is now gives you an epic dronescape. Close your eyes and that world opens before you.

The intricate and gradual changes in sound are subtle. The cinematic quality is not lost on me, as I could see this gracing a science fiction epic, providing incidental tension. These are not relaxing ambient pieces, but have an edge to them.

The mix is clean, and the sound design is interesting. It could probably be background music just as easily, but I tend to be an active listener. I found enough to entertain me, and then some. There is well over an hour of music here, and well worth the download.

You can follow Red Clouds on Twitter as @Redclouds3 and on soundcloud.