• September's Top 10

    10 sept. 2010, 18h29m

    This month has without doubt been the hardest choice in a very long time with regards to selecting just ten albums in our top 10 list. Their seems to be so much good music doing the rounds on the Fluid playlists of late, and after much deliberation the list below is our current favs for September…

    Erik K. Skodvin – Flare

    The album as a whole bears the hallmark of someone who is not experimenting per se, but has a VERY CLEAR VISION of what is to be achieved at the end of the creative process. This record did not happen by accident, nor could it. I’d be curious to find out where and how it was recorded, as it has a really strong character of sound.

    It is mentioned fairly regularly on articles on the net that this record represents a “friendlier” side to the artist, and is “only moderately dark”. I’d suggest to maybe not taking that statement at face value, as it is by nature pretty brooding, heavy and pensive. Those of you familiar with his work would not be surprised by what is on offer here, but those coming to it for the first time may find that it is not quite what they were expecting.

    In saying that, it is a work of some considerable skill, and those not afraid of a few cobwebs and shadows will find the musicianship on offer rewarding. A perfect cinematic accompaniment to someone lost in the desert at night.

    Piiptsjilling – Wurdskrieme

    Wurdskrieme is one of two new releases from Piiptsjilling, a quartet that is formed of Jan and Romke Kleefstra, Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt. The name Piiptsjilling (pronounced ‘peep-chilling’) is Frisian; a language which Jan Kleefstra uses for the poetry he reads to accompany the improvised sonic worlds that the remaining three members create with guitars, effects, loopers and the voice…

    In March 2010 the band took to an intensive 2-day improvised recording session with the goal of creating nothing more than beautiful, challenging music. The session resulted in two-and-a-half hours of material which was mixed and edited into two separate albums. Did they succeed with their simple goal? Yes. Yes they did.

    Piiptsjilling’s first album, self-titled and released in 2008, was a fairly post-rock induced affair with weeping guitars and suppressed desperation by the bucket-load. This time around, the post-rock influence has disappeared and the guitars, at times, are used as a percussion instrument in a prepared- style à la Keith Rowe on tracks such as the graciously atmospheric Sangerjende wyn and Utsakke bui

    Arkhonia – Trails/Trace

    Arkhonia’s “Trails/Traces” fulfils the much promised, but seldom delivered, remit of large portions of ambient music – “to take the listener on a journey”…

    From the deep rumblings of the album’s opener to the final decaying notes and crackles of its closing track, all manner of mood-shifting experimentation directs (and occasionally derails) the listener along a sonic path that is at times unnerving and, at others, warmly welcoming.

    Each piece leads neatly into the next and one would not suspect that this album was assembled from material produced over the span of the last decade – the production values on display in the oldest pieces are qualitatively indistinguishable from the most recent and all are invested with a luscious, finely honed depth of texture.

    Conventional song structures are eschewed and supplanted by morphing, reverberating assemblages that, whilst never sounding instrumentally “organic”, appear to have been grown rather than written. Tellingly, the only track which appears (slightly) more conventionally musical is a remix/reworking of a live recording taken from a Liondialer release on the same label. Even so, the Blade Runner-styled epic futurism of ‘GDLadyburn’ never exactly bursts into pop hook territory – its brooding, expansive synths and onslaught of widescreen ambience conjuring up neon-lit, midnight cityscapes more readily than falling back on the gentle pastoral stylings of so many other acts operating in this musical sphere.

    Boduf Songs – This Alone Above All Else In Spite Of Everything

    Mat Sweet is rather good at creating a true feeling of isolation, and this is definitely true of the new record; the feeling of being lost in a dusky forest, wandering aimlessly, surrounded by nothing and with nothing guiding you; everything within TAAAEISoE is carefully placed to invoke this feeling. However, I feel that what lets the album down, only twice in its duration mind you, is the choice of percussion elements Sweet uses for tracks Absolutely Null and Utterly Void and They Get on Slowly. I felt that with the sense of space that the other instrumentation gives to the tracks, juxtaposed by the restricted closeness of the voice, the percussion is somewhat clumsily thrown in the middle with little thought about the plain it occupies.

    The album as a whole has a considerably more electronic influence than previous releases as electric guitar is favoured over the acoustic and everything appears to be slightly more processed, more fabricated and the world of sound that Sweet is creating takes as much focus as the lyrics do. This can be heard in the smaller sounds hidden layers down in the mix and even in the way that the whispering breaths pan through the speakers. It’s certainly no secret that Mat prefers the single microphone set-up and this can be heard in previous releases but here it’s a little more obscure.

    Peter Broderick – How They Are

    The new album from Peter Broderick, How They Are, is the result of an enforced convalescence during the recording of another. It’s an exercise in concise, direct simplicity, and is one of the best arguments against overproduction you will ever hear. As mentioned, whilst Broderick was recording his forthcoming album he was forced to take a number of months off to recover from complications from knee surgery. The record fully tracked, enforced inactivity prompted a creative burst separate to the project at hand, a number of songs worked up from words to music.

    Due to the relative simplicity of the material, it was then all tracked in ONE DAY in a studio in Portland, Oregon, put down live to tape after Broderick was well enough to return to activity.

    The results are amazing in a number of respects – the musicianship is incredible, with some quite moving piano work. The vocals are strong without being overwrought. The production has character in spades – lots of shuffling and clunking around before and after takes, and a reassuring hum from the tape flows through the album, segueing the tracks together. The instruments are captured cleanly with a lot of natural sounding reverb, and in some instances you can seemingly hear the fingers on the keys and the strings.

    M. Ostermeier – Chance Reconstruction

    M. Ostermeier has had a busy year; we’re only 8 months in and he’s already released two records and is about to release his third, Chance Reconstruction…

    His first two releases Percolate and Lakefront released on Parvo Art and Hibernate respectively had a definite style and feel that portrayed itself clearly throughout. However, Chance Reconstruction immediately feels more ripened than its predecessors and also feels like an album in which Ostermeier wanted to push the boundaries of what he had learnt making the first two records. This results in something which is non-definable by such a word as ambient or classical or any combination of the two.

    Chance Reconstruction is an atmospheric affair; bathing the listener in brooding textures and wavering piano motifs. As is the general style of Ostermeier his compositions are laden with carefully placed field recordings that tie the melodic motifs to something more tangible (is that the clanging of a radiator I hear?).

    What Ostermeier is always best at though, even if it is not immediately noticeable, is his sense of texture and rhythm. His first release Percolate was full of glitches and sputters from more traditional percussion techniques, however, when he moved on from these elements the sense of rhythm still remained, and that is in part due to Ostermeier’s ability to utilise granular field recordings that add a definite movement which, of course, was the role that the percussion played in previous releases.

    Seaworthy & Matt Rösner – Two Lakes

    Two Lakes is the brainchild of Seaworthy (Cameron Webb) and Matt Rösner, an audio study of water ecosystems on the South Coast of Australia from April 2010…

    The two sound artists spent days at the two coastal locations of Lakes Meroo and Termeil using a variety of microphones, then manipulated the results and added layers of instrumentation recorded during breaks in the field. The instruments listed as being used are acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele and electronics. On the last day of the trip, with the experience of the recording process still fresh in mind, rough arrangements were created from the field recordings and improvised sets. Rosier then took these arrangements back to his studio in Myalup – a small coastal town on the opposite side of the Australian continent – to mix and finalize the production.

    The results are strikingly original – I can honestly say that I have never heard anything like this before. It sounds as though multiple layers of field noise have been used in some tracks (“Meroo Sedgeland Pt. 1”), and different improvised musical parts have been combined also. Common themes do run through the tracks, so there is consistency to them, but the way it is presented is diverse and challenging.

    Padang Food Tigers – Born Music

    Padang Food Tigers, better known as Spencer Grady and Steven Lewis from Rameses III, follow up their EP from this year, Go Down, Moses.

    Born Music is a somber and meditative collection of enigmatic field recordings, mixed with sparse and elegant instrumentation. It’s themed well, with the tones of the recordings consistent throughout. The guitar and banjo have a great thump to them, and on the whole feels considered and assured.

    The sound of running water in the title track starts proceedings, with some banjo and piano gently bringing up the rear. The sound is strong and fades in and out cleanly.

    The next track “Rise Before the Rain” is a clever follow on, the suggestion of hiss or rain behind the ambient instrumentation sounding like a continuation of the water tones of the first. The mood of the piece is fantastic, with great guitar tones sliding across the speakers.

    “Every Heaven I’ve Ever Seen” is a great collection of organic tones, with marvelous recording character – some well caught string swipes and shuffle in the middle balance out the ambience of the piece. The rise and fall is hypnotic, with a number of hooks to latch on to.

    “Corpse Light Breaker” changes tone with a solitary piano to start, then some dueling banjo and guitar. The tones of both are captured with great precision, with a child singing out in the background at one point. Great stuff. A metallic drone hovers at the tail end, a lovely counterpoint to the earthy background hiss.

    Rafael Anton Irisarri – The North Bend

    New album “The North Bend” released on the Room40 label sees Irisarri fully realise the sound hinted at on the “Reverie” mini album; focusing heavily on textures and drones. The classical sound is still there (appearing on one track) but it’s more refined and subtle and is shown mostly in the melodic development and subtle textural elements of the tracks. It’s that melodic aspect that makes this album so warm and vivid, overflowing with imagery. Each track on the album paints a picture and tells a story, unravelling slowly and carefully to reveal its complete depth. It’s hard for me to imagine exactly what this audio postcard looks like that Irisarri was going for; I’ve never visited the states and I’m not a Lynch fan, but I can imagine my own version of it incorporating the same ideas and influences but from areas of the world that I am familiar with. That’s what this album has in abundance; familiarity in the sounds. It’s like the feeling of remembering something heart warming from the past that you had once forgotten about, be it a person or a place and looking back at a photo or postcard to remind yourself.

    Accurately describing the music on this album is difficult. It’s not that it is extremely abstract; it’s more to do with the overall feeling. Plenty of artists have intertwined classical elements with drone orientated ambiance (Eluvium springs to mind) but none of them have captured this bleak yet someone uplifting sound that Irisarri has conjured. There are big textures and big melodies here and lots of development that many artists in the drone style fail to create. With every play through I discover another element hidden under the grain and the haze and it makes me want to go back to hear it again, and again until I discover another layer of hidden wonder.

    Murralin Lane – Our House Is On The Wall

    Our House Is On The Wall is the debut release from Swedish duo Murralin Lane. While the project is new, Murralin Lane’s David Wenngren is no stranger to the scene. Recording solo as Library Tapes for Kning Disk and Home Normal he has established a loyal following with his piano-based experimentalism where he puts texture, distance and longing to good effect in its melodic, grainy ambiance. Murralin Lane is Wenngren’s latest project which was formed in 2009 when he paired up with partner Ylva Wiklund and set aside the piano to take on new, collaborative audio explorations. Instead of the trademark piano that Wenngren has become known for, Murralin Lane thrives on highly distressed, lo-fi beauty formed by a more process intensive creation. Wiklund supplies vocals, (sometimes recorded through a mobile phone for effect), that are as pretty as they are creepy, adding an otherworldly sense of fragility to the dark and melancholic compositions made of noisy, tonal layers that sound as though they’re on the verge of breaking apart.

    Recorded in the wee hours of the morning, Our House Is On The Wall pushes the boundaries that 12k has set with its tactile, electro-acoustic, ambient minimalism, touching on the label’s occasional forays into more pop territory yet bringing something decidedly darker to the table.

    Full information on the above top 10 can be found here:
  • August's Top 10

    1 août 2010, 18h48m

    It seems to get harder and harder each month to select our favourite ten releases. August was no exception to the rule and after much deliberation we finally made our choice with artists such as Goldmund, Noveller, Chris Abrahams and Aaron Martin making the grade…

    Goldmund – Famous Places

    Keith Kenniff follows up 2008’s “The Malady of Elegance” with the third album under his Goldmund guise. Where Helios, his other key musical alias, takes on long form compositions which blend piano, guitar and electronics, Goldmund has always been about compact, concise piano music. On “Famous Places,” released this August on Western Vinyl, this is no different and may yet prove to be the best Goldmund album to date.

    With fifteen beautifully crafted tracks, each around three minutes in duration, the deliberate capturing of piano pedals and hammers and captivating melodies all on display, the classic Goldmund sound is in full effect. Thankfully however Keith hasn’t opted for just more of the same. Instead he has introduced subtle uses of electronic manipulation and light doses of other ambient sounds which, while only minimal in use, add a rich layer of texture to his music. Full info

    TwinSisterMoon – Then Fell The Ashes

    This is the third Twinsistermoon release since 2009?s The Hollow Mountain LP and Bride of Spirits 7? which were both released on the excellent Dull Knife label…

    Following on from these two gems, various obscure self released items and CDs on Digitalis and Students of Decay, Ameziane’s sound has grown somewhat darker at times with this LP featuring nearly 50 minutes of brand new material. The A-side features 6 tracks, where as the B side is complemented with a huge, almost 25 minute track.

    The opening track ‘Black Nebulae’ is a gorgeously textured psychedelic drone-based piece, followed by a short, quieter, guitar plucked piece with vocals, but no words, entitled ’1976?. ‘Ghost That Was Your Life’ is a stunning beautiful layered guitar piece with Ameziane’s astounding beautiful vocals shining through. ‘Big Sand’ opens as one of the darker pieces, with an occult feeling to its sound, swirling vocal drones, almost like a choir at times, and in come those stunning warm and distinctive gutar sounds with layered ghostly sound scapes, that haunt much of Ameziane’s solo and NSB recordings. Full info

    Imbogodom – The Metallic Year

    “The Metallic Year” is a collection of eerie but affecting tracks, where sound collage and unraveling songs present a haunted world of spooling atmospheres, warped instrumentation, and disembodied voices, generated by the UK’s Alexander Tucker and New Zealand’s Daniel Beban…

    The genesis of the project can be traced to the pair’s time at BBC’s Bush House, where Beban worked nights as a world service radio engineer. The basis for the project is manually spliced analogue tape loops, manipulated manually to different speeds, also accompanied by Dictaphones, instrumentation and voices.

    The strong impact of the tape loops is incredibly effective, and it brings a imperceptible strength to the record – multiple listens reveal a tangible organic feel that simply would not be present had the same effects been created digitally. It’s the sort of affectionate charm old warped vinyl had – an endearing imperfection that works on multiple levels, if you’re conscious of it at all. Full info

    Chris Abrahams – Play Scar

    “Play Scar” by Chris Abrahams is a demanding but rewarding beast, at first inspection appearing to be a collection of disparate and incongruous elements. On further listens it reveals itself as a deft exercise in experimentation and virtuosity…

    Abrahams, obviously best known for his work with The Necks, has collected eight tracks of varying length for his second release on the Room40 label, following on from “Thrown” in 2005. Whilst “Thrown” had a more exploratory feel, with a greater emphasis on wind instruments and textures, “Play Scar” is record of considerable weight and focus, worthy of the many listens required to digest it completely.

    The overall impression is a collection of vibrant ideas explored fully, recorded outside the context that Abrahams often works in. A great deal of electroacoustic music can often be defined by a few common elements – electronic drones, hiss and strings (to overgeneralize). Not so here – the bulk of the instrumentation is organic and textile, with the instrumentation listed as Hammond, Rhode and church organs, piano, guitar, tambourine, bells, vintage synths and Autoharp. Full info

    Part Timer - The Runner Remixes

    The most recent release from Fluid favorite and Moteer representative Part Timer is a seven tracker featuring multiple remixes of the song “The Runner”, from the forthcoming album “Real to Reel”. If the quality of the material that appears here is any indication, the album will certainly be something to look out for…

    The tracks revolve around a central vocal stanza provided by frequent Part Timer collaborator, the fascinating Heidi Elva, who possesses a haunting tone in the same league of a Lou Rhodes or a Beth Gibbons.

    The central theme appears to be one of homesickness -

    “It’s been a long time since I’ve been home/And I’ve been wishing for the sky to turn grey/So I can hide quietly away/ I run from you/I run from me.”

    Seven treatments of the same track could in lesser hands become tedious, so it’s a good demonstration of the skill of all involved that the whole release flows smoothly, consistently and never at any stage fails to engage and draw you in. In fact, the overall effect is one of a Chinese Whisper – the story emerging at the end is still linked to the one told at the beginning, but taken on a life of its own with distinct characteristics still able to be traced from the original.

    One of the major strengths of the whole proceedings is the audible DEPTH in the tracks – they all seems to stretch for a mile from foreground to background, and span a long way from left to right. Either a happy accident that everyone involved is a great mixer, or the masterer really has a real knack for soundscapes. There are multiple layers in play at most points, and trying to identify and contextualize them is both rewarding and challenging. There’s a lot of presence from the bottom end, and the top is pretty crisp. Full info

    Aaron Martin – The Night Erased Them All

    Aaron Martin’s new record “Night Erased Them All,” is another fine addition to his already expansive body of work. Proceeding “Worried About The Fire” which was released earlier this year, his latest recording is a detailed 30 minutes of sound manipulation and cello wizardry that will be sold as a limited cassette and CD-r release through Sonic Meditations.

    On “Night Erased Them All” Aaron designed the tracks to be listened while driving alone at night. Unfortunately I sold my car a few short months ago, so without a means of listening to the record as intended, I set about playing it in different places all which in some way were linked to the road or travel.

    On Friday night I took a perfectly timed half hour bus journey through London. Sitting at the front of the top deck, I wanted to connect the music’s sounds with my vision of the road. Typically, being rush hour, the stop start nature of the journey was unlikely to reflect the freeness of the open Kansas highways that this album would have been built around, so I shut my eyes and let my imagination be fuelled by the creative sounds. Full info

    The Green Kingdom – Prismatic

    Following the beautiful Twig and Twine (November 2009, Own Records), Michael Cottone returns with Prismatic, his latest work under the moniker The Green Kingdom. The Detroit based sound artist has once again mixed many disparate influences and ideas into a wonderfully creative album…

    Opening track Bonfire sets the tone of what’s to come. Unhurried sound manipulation and complex melodies contrast with guitar which at times sounds slightly reminiscent of Fennesz and conjures a similar optimistic spirit which is present on Fennesz’s Endless Summer, but in Cottone’s unique way.

    Crystalline chimes open Bells And Thoughts, which then evolves with unconventional beats and delicate guitar, leaving the listener uplifted.

    Claudes Ghost is a slow burning number which features a beautiful keyboard riff complemented with field recordings, the effect hypnotic. Mid-way through, the pace changes and the piece begins to ascend, a cacophony of sound seeing out the remainder of the track.

    Radiance Reflected begins with an enchanting melody, the wide stereo image helping notes to echo in each ear. Though there’s no simple hook to the track, the artist delights with inventive uses of an arrhythmic beat. – Full info

    Noveller – Desert Fires

    When we talk about Ambient music, most people think of music that can be played in the background and ignored. Music that requires zero attention so we can go about our every day tasks without silence….

    Noise music; being avant-garde in nature, therefore almost always demands the listener’s full attention, whether through choice or not. It is obtrusive and abrasive. It certainly can create an atmosphere in a room much like Ambient music can, but in a distracting sense rather than a meditative or relaxing sense, such as we require from Ambient music.

    For her previous album Sarah Lipstate aka Noveller created something that definitely demanded your attention. It was loud and noisy and at times quite harsh. With her new album “Desert Fires” it feels as though she has attempted to try and reach almost the exact opposite of that. The passages of piercing white noise are gone. The sharp textures are gone. Instead she has created something that is; though still rich in texture and timbre, much more subdued, serene and relaxing. The feeling of anxiety created by the noise on the first record is swapped for a feeling of peacefulness and tranquillity, inner calm and stillness. Full info

    Max Richter – Infra

    Genuine OPENING TRACKS to albums are a comparative scarcity in this day and age, something of a lost art. Pieces that slowly introduce tone, mood and the instrumentation, setting the pace for the record as a whole and the stage for the themes to follow. Since the advent of digital distribution, the concept of the album itself is a less important one, and opening tracks seem to have been deemed to be a lesser concern.

    So to be greeted with the opener “Infra 1”, from Max Richter’s new album is something of a pleasant shock.

    Two shortwave radio loops panned to each side slowly creep up in volume. Morse code. Feedback squalls. Some faint drone in the background, then some further feedback. There’s a swell of strings, and then – the bottom end drops.

    Tape warmth. Immaculate playing. Brilliant arrangements. Clever mixing.

    Magic. It’s like being lost at sea.

    And as quickly as it’s there, it fades again, the best opening to a record I’ve heard so far this year. The immediate reaction is to try and process the multiple impressions and incredible production, as the strings and piano parts sound as though they’re actually in the room with you. The cinematic sweep and the emotional engagement that are present in all of his previous works are here in spades. I’ve seen it written that the music on this release presents itself in a stronger light without the spoken word work of Kafka and Murakami, and that’s fair comment – the minimalist structures assume the central role that they deserve. Full info

    Field Rotation – Why Things Are Different

    Christoph Berg’s most recent release “Why Things Are Different” is a blend of acoustic instruments, field recordings and electronic processing techniques used to construct a small but thoughtful soundtrack to winter; slow, deep drones painted with subtle hiss and texture work…

    “When The Clouds Clear” is a simple, ephemeral piece based around a drone that lifts after about two minutes. Some disconcerting micro noise then settles into the far corners after panning around for a few minutes; it then mixes in shuddering metallic tones and peaks upward – all the tracks crescendo before it fades out at about the six-minute mark. Good opener.

    “Never Build A Bridge Into Nothingness” is (aside from being a great song title) more demanding – a windy and grey storm that blows through the entire spectrum before the rain hits hard at about the two-minute mark. The tone is oppressive, yet there’s a lot of warmth in the bottom end and this track would come up well for those lucky enough to have good stereos or headphones.

    “Sleepless” is a marked change in mood, and the highlight of the outing. Some repeating high tone drones mixed with some guttural and insistent bass texture, with some occasional hiss flares in the peripheries. Halfway in, the introductory tones fade out and you’re left with some interesting and affecting central hovering. Clever stuff. Here the relevance of the title begins to be clear, a hypnotic half state punctuated by the odd burst of hiss across the speakers. Then, returning to the introductory piece to close. Full information
  • July's Top 10

    1 jui. 2010, 19h32m

    The last few weeks have most definitely seen some of the best releases so far this year which in turn has made this months selection that much tuffer to select…

    No.1: Nils Frahm And Anne Müller – 7 Fingers

    The album is sequenced in an extraordinary way; alternating between introspective classical pieces and glitchy, propulsive hallucinations creating an all-around, complete listening experience. 7 Fingers is an absolute necessity and will surely stand as one of the better releases of the year.

    No.2: Fieldhead – Riser

    There is still, amongst the grainy production and experimental techniques, a defiantly pop sensibility at play in this EP. The tracks are catchy and simple but, with Elam’s production shaping and distorting them, they become something other than pop – they sound like they could fall apart in your hands. I had the opportunity to review the digital version of this EP but there is a real physicality, a real presence, to the Fieldhead sound which is strangely incongruent with contemporary music formats. My advice? Snap up the vinyl if you can – otherwise buy the download and transfer it to tape for a proper listening experience.

    No.3: Marta Mist – Distance/Skeletal/Union

    This is beautiful, exploratory sound art of a kind unthinkable within the constraints of the short form music I have until recently been accustomed to. Marta Mist have made music that deserves to be actively engaged with rather than simply ‘heard’, and I can only recommend “Distance-Skeletal-Union” with highest praise of the most sincere kind.

    No.4: Hummingbird – Our Fearful Symmetry

    Hummingbird’s marriage of restrained classicism and contemporary electronic atmospheric manipulation means that “Our Fearful Symmetry” is very much a record of the moment – the ambient/electro-acoustic scene abounds with artists mining the same vein of inspiration – however, while many acts aspire to the creation of reminiscence-evoking beauty it is an uncommon achievement. The artist behind Hummingbird accomplishes a startling ubiquity of grace throughout this album and though it is a debut outing for the project, the strength of the material and its connotative power betray the unmistakable hand of a master at work.

    No.5: F.S.Blumm & Nils Frahm – Music For Lovers Music Versus Time

    This is certainly a “different” album and thankfully despite this it doesn’t feel forced. F.S Blumm and Nils Frahm have found a way through their collaboration, to showcase their passion for music and in turn provide their listeners with an opportunity to enjoy their work in a way that is by no means conventional. The album encourages listeners to love the sounds they listen to and by taking time to soak up the creativity and appreciate the artistry at work, the depth of the work on display here comes to life.

    No.6: Evan Caminiti – West Winds

    Evan Caminiti is a guitarist full of big ideas and even bigger sounds. currently known as one-half of the San Francisco Bay Area avant droners Barn Owl, Caminiti has spent a great deal of time the past few years playing and recording gorgeous solo explorations focused primarily on the guitar, but, when need be, accented by additional instrumentation.

    No 7: Sonmi451 – Ruis

    The piece is a wonderful walk along slowly pulsating sine waves, lingering piano loops, cradling strings and the solar warmth of little cracks, pops and soft hisses. Ruis truly is a hidden treasure. At first it seems to be nothing more but a lovely track, “ordinary” prettiness, though once you put it on while you’re trying to sleep, it becomes as essential as your pillow or your favorite blanket. It is probably the most efficient piece we’ve had the chance to release. A lush, soft and hypnotic path into unconsciousness.

    No. 8: The Green Kingdom – Prismatic

    Following the beautiful Twig and Twine (November 2009, Own Records), Michael Cottone returns with Prismatic, his latest work under the moniker The Green Kingdom. The Detroit based sound artist has once again mixed many disparate influences and ideas into a wonderfully creative album.

    No 9: Scott Cortez and Thisquietarmy – Meridians

    Where as the first piece was mainly made up of droning low ends and sharp high end swells, this piece features intertwining melodic passages of enveloping warmth, sharp digital fuzz and beautiful distant distortion. This track is exactly what I was hoping for from the collaboration between these two projects; 13 minutes of blissful ambient shoegaze. The tones and textures created on this piece are sublime, reminiscent of shimmering sea water lapping against a breath taking landscape or bright sun glare through a frosted window.

    No.10: Daphne Oram – Oramics (Deluxe Vinyl Edition)

    As this remarkable 44-track collection shows, however, her work ranks amongst the most varied and pioneering ever made, and it’s quite incredible to think that this is the first time any of these precious recordings have been available on vinyl. 155 minutes/8 sides of vinyl cut by Lupo at D&M, housed in a heavyweight 300 gram gatefold sleeve, featuring rare archive photographs.
  • May's Top 10

    5 mai 2010, 12h33m

    1. Olan Mill – Pine

    Listening to “Pine,” the second release from record label Serein, and the debut recording from Olan Mill, it is clear the group’s two collaborators are appreciators of these sounds. For while this compact, concise group of recordings are created from a palette of instruments and not from field recordings so usually associated with ambient music, such is the dream like, slow motion quality of the sounds at work that one could easily forget they are listening to a record, as the notes seamlessly form part of their natural surroundings.

    2. Svarte Greiner – Penpals Forever (And Ever)

    A1, the record’s opening track commences with the light plucking of guitar, which when joined by a more devious sounding electric guitar reminds me of the opening of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” where a camera moves from a serene suburban garden deep into the soil beneath it. Once the more ominous sounds are established, there is no reproach, and the first 11 minutes of this record also houses a background of industrial-like noises, which create an eerie sound, almost like screaming.

    3. Talvihorros – Music In Four Movements

    Recent examples of creative takes on self-immolation have included Gus Van Sant’s movie “Last Days,” which through a slow paced narrative recreated the final moments of a musician made to resemble Kurt Cobain. Last year in the literary world readers were treated to the excellent debut novel from David Vann entitled “Legend of a Suicide” which contained a selection of fictional short stories all of which housed reflections on the suicide of the writer’s father. Now, from a musical perspective comes “Music In Four Movements” by Talvihorros, a four track album representing the final four days of an individual set on ending their own life.

    4. Richard A Ingram – Consolamentum

    White Box Recordings have so far proven that they are a label to be reckoned with. Previous offerings from the likes of Danny Saul and Liondialer demonstrate that these guys mean business and the next project from Richard A Ingram confirms this as he presents a stunning collection of expressive compositions.

    5. LAURA GIBSON AND ETHAN ROSE – Bridge Carols

    Bridge Carols takes the listener to a place that exists between the notes and behind the words of modern music. This breaking down and rebuilding, cutting down to the core and polishing, results in something truer and more fundamental. It’s music that feels intimately familiar, timeless; at its heart, quite natural and human.

    6. Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring

    From the first piano notes of the title track, Thistled Spring shows itself to be an album of rebirth, renewal, and fragile hope. The sun is out in the world evoked by this music, and in the first couple of songs it feels like the sun of early spring, glinting on a frosty river where the ice is just breaking up. “Thistled Spring” and “Starving Robins” both continue Ringle’s trademark use of space in songwriting, but in this case the space is full of potential, like the spaces between drops of melting snow.

    7. sunslide – Field Piano

    Squelching of boots walking the flooded fields, the rattle of a gate and then the piano. These nocturnes bring an impression of the landscape in keeping with Satie and Poulenc; where the music is found between the silence and the hammer on the string.

    8. Bobby and Blumm – A Little Big

    Nothing forces itself on You, no babbling, no twaddle. B&B only use the notes, that they consider really necessary. Their songs are in focus. They are refined. They have a superb feeling for time. Duets and dialogues are engaged in close arrangements. A slight rise of the eye-brow and the next harmony appears just like that. Fine-felt sounds, for the love of music. And the more You listen to this album the more beautiful it becomes, the deeper it roots.

    9. Films – Messenger

    Film’s first celebratory album titled, “Messenger” is based on an imaginary fable. The album brings classical instruments such as piano, violin, viola, and cello, an ensemble of instruments that provokes images of solemn church music and layers this with a touch of electronic sound, and a silky veil of a woman’s voice ringing from far in the distance beyond the fog and together, turns the entire album into one deep fairy tale.

    10 . Greg Davis – Regarding Wave

    Musically this album has a shimmering brightness about it, almost like an auditory hall of mirrors where the smallest chime echoes and repeats kaleidoscopically forever. Over the course of three tracks, Greg produces moments of rippling beauty via polite tonal drones that evolve at glacial speed. Full of harmony and accessibility, Regarding Wave is not only a welcome addition to Greg’s diverse oeuvre, but also a worthy introduction to his music for newcomers.
  • May's Line Up On Fluid

    29 avr. 2010, 16h08m

    We have another strong artist/label roster lined up for you in May with the likes of Greg Haines, The Sight Below, Taylor Deupree and Will Long to name but a few...

    Saturday 1st: Greg Haines Exclusive

    Sunday 2nd: Kyle Bobby Dunn Exclusive

    Wednesday 5th: Deer Diary – In The Woods

    Friday 7th: Will Long – Floor Sugar Selection

    Saturday 8th: Wes Willenbring – Minus Something

    Sunday 9th: Heat Death Records Showcase

    Wednesday 12th: David Newlyn (Cathedral Transmissions)

    Friday 14th: Antonymes – The Forgotten Mix

    Saturday 15th: Damian Valles Vol.2

    Sunday 16th: Field Rotation – Gesammelte Werke 2nd Edition

    Wednesday 19th: Need More Sources – The Grand Scheme Of Things

    Friday 21st: The Sight Below Exclusive

    Saturday 22nd: Michael Tanner Vol. 3

    Sunday 23rd: Hybernation Live At The Flea Pit

    Wednesday 26th: Tanner Menard Exclusive

    Friday 28th: Part Timer Vol. 6

    Saturday 29th: Frederic D. Oberland Vol. 3

    Sunday 30th: Taylor Deupree – The 12k Selection
  • April Top 10

    5 avr. 2010, 18h45m

    1. AntonymesBeauty Becomes The Enemy Of The Future

    Packages arrive through the post on a regular basis with regards to cd submissions for the Fluid playlists. This always excites me and sometimes I feel like the young child on Christmas morning eagerly waiting to find out what could possibly be inside…

    This week however I had the luxury of opening a package that was ‘above the norm’ to say the least. Something that had so much attention to detail with regards to design, appearance, funcionality and of course, sound.

    The package that I talk about is the upcoming limited edition photo book release of ‘Beauty Becomes The Enemy Of The Future’ by Ian Hazeldine, otherwise known as Antonymes.

    2. Sam AmidonI See The Sign

    Staying true to the formula found in Sam’s aforementioned 2007 LP and also in 2008’s “All Is Well,” this new record largely comprises of old-time melodies and lyrics, with children’s singing games common throughout. Where “All Is Well” built upon his sound, adding horns and string arrangements to bring a greater sense of depth to the instrumental constructions of his work, “I See The Sign” evolves this sound significantly.

    3. PlinthAlbatross

    “Albatross” is a collection of 5 interpretations of the Fleetwood Mac track of the same name and like the changes we are witnessing in the world around us, it provides the listener with a variation of audible delights suitable for the adapting seasons.

    Despite being a bird, in literary circles the Albatross itself is largely considered to hold metaphorical value. Sometimes defined as a wearisome burden, this is in an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

    4. Scott TumaDandelion

    “Dandelion” is a a hymn to loves won, then lost. Dying on the vine, he bellows “You are so pretty,” yearning for something simpler and easier to navigate. “You’re always on my mind” reminds us that things come to an end, that even the best things have a shelflife. It runs head first into the megalith that is “Free Dirt.” Mike Weis makes his present felt as the duo navigates the darkest moments Tuma’s ever put to tape. This is “Taradiddle” drowned in the mud. Hope is lost to the darkness as denial turns to acceptance. Winding down into a wall of cymbals and heavy-handed acoustic guitar, it’s total catharsis. Tuma and Weis show again just how well they work together.

    5. The Sight BelowIt All Falls Apart

    In the year since Glider’s release, The Sight Below honed his craft and traveled the world, toting his equipment to distant cities and festivals, playing breathtaking audio/visual performances, and wandering off into the night. Evidently, this was time well-spent. With his new album It All Falls Apart, The Sight Below expands upon his strengths at every turn, crafting a paean to impermanence, an ambient meditation that uses the sounds of sadness in the service of sweet emotional catharsis.

    6. David A JaycockThe Coleopterous Cuckoos Collude

    An active member of Pickled Egg recording artists Big Eyes, as well as The Big Eyes Family Players, David plays a vast selection of instruments, with his signature guitar intricacies joined by analogue synthesizers, bowed banjos, toy piano, harmonium, and a zither . Subsequently, The Coleopterous Cuckoos Collude is an achingly beautiful work of cinematic majesty; its progressive classicism enhanced by David’s will to actively break traditional musical boundaries.

    7. Gareth HardwickOf The Sea And Shore

    Recorded over a four month period during the Winter of 2009/10, Gareth’s characteristic long form guitar drones have been enhanced by a widened palette of sounds consisting of different instrumentation, effects and recording techniques. Cymbals and chimes supply a percussive undercurrent, whilst radio static, dictaphone field recordings and harmonium are used to add further texture.

    8. Alva NotoFor 2

    As we listen we are almost aware of this record having breath, as a watchful vacuum draws in influences before exhaling them back into the music. This ebb and flow marks time over for 2’s reference points, reminding us that creativity is perceptive of that which lies at its edges and, similar to language, absorbs it within.

    9. FNSFNS

    Despite being his first recording for Miasmah, it transpires that FNS or Fredrik Ness Sevendal is in fact a veteran of the Oslo experimental scene. Having collaborated with several groups over the years, FNS is very much his solo project. Using a variety of instruments, but predominantly focusing on guitar, there is a premeditated approach here; an effort to ensure the lo-fi nature of the record is appreciated by the listener.

    Opening with “Silence to Say Hello,” the intention of this sound is clear. Delicate guitar riffs, in tandem with light percussion, are counter balanced with an un-even swirling of self constructed noise and reverbs. “Sappélur” is an altogether different affair and for all the meditative qualities of the opening track, this is an unsettling cacophony of noisy drones.

    10. Tanner MenardThe Oceans of Your Aura
    Each ’song’ in the album was created using two instances of pianoteq, a physical modeling software that here replicates two pianos each 10 meters in length, each having a unique tuning system always tuned one hertz from the other with A being 444 and 445 respectively. Both pianos also allow their strings to vibrate freely through the use of a constantly activated damper pedal. Loops of midi data drive these pianos through an improvisation that I carefully crafted into slow motion portraits of quasi-song structures.

    Full details on the above releases can be found here:
  • April Line Up On Fluid

    31 mars 2010, 10h39m

    The time is upon us to mention the upcoming artist/label mix schedule for April including a killer Hibernate Records showcase plus mixes from Yellow Swans, Simon Scott and Jasper TX to name but a few...

    All mixes start at 7pm UK time on Channel 1:

    Friday 2nd: Fluid - What Will Be

    Saturday 3rd: Hibernate Recordings Showcase

    Sunday 4th: Simon Scott Vol.2

    Wednesday 7th: Low Light - Flicker & Fade

    Thursday 8th: Marconi Union

    Friday 9th: Deer Diary - Signals

    Saturday 10th: Rough Guide Vol.3 - James Blackshaw

    Sunday 11th: Michael Tanner - The Unreleased Set

    Wednesday 14th: Jasper TX Vol.2

    Thursday 15th: Fugues Vol.3

    Friday 16th: Danny Paul Grody

    Saturday 17th: M. Ostermeier Vol.2

    Sunday 18th: Huw Roberts - Serein Label

    Wednesday 21st: Second Language Label

    Thursday 22nd: Message To Bears

    Friday 23rd: Yellow Swans

    Saturday 24th: P. Jørgensen Vol.3

    Sunday 25th: Keepsakes Vol.2

    Wednesday 28th: Part Timer Vol.5
  • Fluid Radio iPhone/iPod App

    23 mars 2010, 23h57m

    We are pleased to inform you that the Fluid Radio iPhone/iPod application is now live and below is the information needed to get the app installed and running…


    - It is completely free!

    - WiFi and 3G compatible.

    - Works on any iPhone or iPod touch model that has a 3G or WiFi connection (technically this rules out the original iPhone, but the app will still run on it, the user will just have a difficulty getting a stable audio stream) as long as the device has iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

    - The Fluid Radio iPhone/iPod app allows you to listen to the Experimental Abstract Channel or the Experimental Folk Channel, along with music news, album reviews and is the perfect way to experience new music on your iPhone/iPod.

    How to get it:

    To grab the app simply click on this link and follow the simple instructions.


    If you can rate and review the application we would be extremely grateful and helps us for future updates to the app.
  • March Top 10

    1 mars 2010, 18h39m

    1. Eleh – Location Momentum

    Eleh has been an enigma since the first record under that name was released in 2006. In numbered editions with letterpressed sleeves, usually on Important Records from the U.S.A., these vinyl-only releases were evidently a labour of love and attention. Further recordings have been released on the labels Taiga and Touch, making 11 vinyl editions in all.

    2. Aaron Martin – Worried About The Fire

    It is an album that slowly lures you in. Starting with downright dark, hypnotic drones, “Albee” is an unnerving opening laced with subtle string sounds over a looping humming of noise. It’s a track that offers no clues as to what will follow, and indeed the set-up of harmonica, banjo, organ and bell sounds that feature on this album throughout bring an ambiguity to the overall sound.

    3. Monolyth & Cobalt – Rives

    Mathias works with many acoustic instruments like Harmonium, Piano, Various Strings, melodica and some human sound such as breath on tape. He also uses modern technology inclusing samplers, sequencer & effects processors but his cinematic soundscapes never lose their organic feel and human emotion.

    4. Danny Paul Grody – Fountain

    Centered around sparkling acoustic guitar motifs, the album unfolds as a series of hypnotic mood pieces and evening hymns with a spectral lyricism invoking scenes of moving images and passing landscapes. Conceived from a collection of home recordings made over the course of a year, the album perfectly distills many of the musical forms from which Grody gravitates towards, namely the chiming kora music of West Africa, the 70’s wave of American underground acoustic guitar players, and a number of long form / drone composers and performers.

    5. Balmorhea – Constellations

    The disarming simplicity of the tracks on Constellations proves that Balmorhea doesn’t need dense arrangements full of 180 degree turns to craft deeply affecting compositions. More than just self-imposed limitation, the scale of this collection of songs introduces a sense of intimacy and perspective through their skillful use of space and restraint.

    6. A Broken Consort – Crow Autumn

    Here is an album that requires great focus from the listener; such is the detailing of each track. Perhaps best suited for headphone listening, to be able to absorb all the rich texturing, Crow Autumn is also a deeply personal record for the recording artist, inspired here by the landscapes of his native Lancashire.

    7. The Moving Dawn Orchestra – Dials

    Electro-acoustic contemporary classical instrumentals: Dials is a graceful suite of four mid-length compositions with minimalist sparsity and contemporary beauty. The wistful pianos, rich with reverb; the sombre string textures and the absence of percussive beats give the music a seductive timelessness.

    8. S – Im Not As Good At It As You

    Im not as good at it as you, coming out on the Luxembourg-based label Own Records: Much like Sadstyle, the songs are deceptively sparse, though Ghetto’s breathy vocals are often layered with achingly-beautiful harmonies. The multi-directional guitar lines and break-neck tempo changes are again in effect, but it’s the maturity of the songwriting as a whole that makes this collection stand out from its predecessors.

    9. Loscil – Endless Falls

    Endless Falls is the fifth full length release by Scott Morgan under the loscil moniker. The album begins and ends with the sound of rain recorded by Scott in his back yard, precipitation being a constant presence in his home city of Vancouver. Many of the other sounds on the album are derived from these same recordings, processed and combined with other harmonic sounds to create the textures and drones.

    10. Dollboy – Ghost Stations

    The music on Ghost Stations finds Dollboy conjuring the haunted spirit of these stations, basing his atmospherically charged compositions on field recordings captured at sites on both the U-bahn and the London Underground. As he says in the accompanying notes: “I have tried to imagine the spirits of those that might have passed through: commuters, revellers, spies, worshipers and the decaying remnants of ghostly dance orchestras.”

    Full deails on this months selction can be found here:
  • March Line Up On Fluid

    1 mars 2010, 12h15m

    Get set for another seriously cool line up of artist mix instalments on Fluid Radio for the month ahead…

    I know I mention this each month, but for anyone new visiting the site all of the following mix dates will be broadcast on channel 1 at 7pm UK time zone.

    March Line Up:

    Wednesday 3rd: Deer Diary – Third From The Sun

    Friday 5th: Aus

    Saturday 6th: Billy Gomberg

    Sunday 7th: Jannick Schou

    Wednesday 10th: Antonymes – To Beginning At The Beginning

    Friday 12th: Boduf Songs

    Saturday 13th: Konntinent

    Sunday 14th: Aaron Martin Vol.2

    Wednesday 17th: Headphone Commute – Our Shelter Our Tomb

    Thursday 18th: Wixel – 09’s Journey

    Friday 19th: Hessien

    Saturday 20th: Rough Guide Vol.2: Nils Frahm presents Eleni Karaindrou

    Sunday 21st: Frederick D. Oberland Vol.2

    Wednesday 24th: Anna Rose Carter

    Thursday 25th: Talvihorros Tape Selection Vol.3

    Friday 26th: Ithaca Trio

    Saturday 27th: Chihei Hatakeyama

    Sunday 28th: Machinefabriek Vol.2

    Wednesday 31st: Part Timer Vol.4