{tantrum} – [2011] {tantrum} EP

Brass indie pop from Indonesia. Refreshingly conventional piano arrangements and vocals.

If you remember the sound of Badly Drawn Boy‘s soundtrack for the movie About a Boy, this is exactly how this band sounds. Leisurely paced pop songs with pleasant vocals and recipe book song structures. Trumpets and Indonesian lyrics add flavour to some of the 11 tracks.

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Various Artists – [2008] Breathe 02

Essential listen for downtempo enthusiasts. Different artists cover wide range of styles.

Breathe Compilations is a (former?) Mexican netlabel that – surprise – specialises in releasing compilations, active between 2008 and 2018 (as of 2020). Although the label’s back catalogue (92 releases) has not seen an addition for almost 2 years, its Soundcloud profile buzzes with activity. So I don’t fully call off any hope for a comeback. But in the meantime, I could as well review one of its earliest releases:

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Gridline – [2014] Videogame

Pure synths (no samples) and drums lead to an instrumental or melodic techno album. Made not for dancing, but for attentive walking.

Gridline is the music project by Serbian artist Predrag Grujic. Starting in 2012, he released several albums and EPs on the two-sided Japanese label Bump Foot (Bump for techno et al., Foot for ambient, IDM, …). This is his first Bump release, and quite quiet at that. Melody lines and only subtle beats make this more (artsy) pop than dance music. Its liberal use of cold sound textures and reverb occasionally remind me of a church organ.

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Aleckat And Hynamo – [2020] Apollo EP

Stratospheric sounds hit grounded beats. Solid progressive techno with psy trance influences. Headphones strongly recommended.

Imagine the fat production value of Monstercat, the astro-inspired sound of space backdrops, and the routine of a club music DJ, all at the same time. The result is an EP whose use of Armstrong’s iconic footprint is fully justified. Long, stretched-out bass lines are monotonous, but never boring. But judge for yourself whether this is your cup of trance:

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The Smashing Pumpkins – [2000] MACHINA II / The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music

A true case of an underground release. Uncompromising hard rock, akin to Nine Inch Nails marrying AC/DC, straight from vinyl.

Yes, this is a release by the Smashing Pumpkins, released by the artists partly in protest against their record label. The original release consisted of only 25 hand-pressed LPs, which found their way to radio stations and devoted fans, with instructions to duplicate and spread the record. And so it did. This version was digitized by a radio station, so hopefully this is as close as possible to the band’s intentions, and those are: rock hard.

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University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra – [2000] Also Sprach Zarathustra

Essential live recording of an essential classic. Quiet listening conditions apply 😉

Image credit: own work, based on Public Domain painting (1918) by Max Liebermann

For us free music enthusiasts, orchestral works are naturally hard to come by. Musicians deserve to earn a living, which is why professional recordings typically don’t come free. But then there are these lucky exceptions, like this concert, well preserved for us collectors, so that we can enjoy an (almost, NC-ND…) libre recording of one of the most well known classical themes of all time.

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Sharema – [2019] Uranus Berlin

Quintessential drone music. Perfect for recreational relaxation, not for busy workouts.

Not much can be found online about netlabel 1834. It curates a collection of long form ambient drone recordings. Most probably stem from live performances. I bring you here catalogue no. ET-047. The vibrant and colourful cover art already prepares you correctly what you can expect sonically from this release:

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My Heart Your Thunder – [2019] My Heart Your Thunder

Timeless electro goodness with edgy synth sounds.

My Heart, Your Thunder (MHYT) has approached me to review one or some of his tracks; some e-mails later, and here we have a special mini-compilation; he even was so generous to offer the lossless sources. So more than ever: if you like what you hear, visit the artist’s original profile (here: Bandcamp) and get some more music there. To stick to my rule, here are the obligatory 2 (out of 6) hand-picked tracks:

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Niteffect [2019] – The Wage Of Forgetting

Relaxing trip hop flirting with IDM. Limited cassette version (still) available (?).

Kreislauf is boutique electronica netlabel specialising in cold and steely sounds, similar to its older cousin Kahvi Records. Check out release Kreislauf Extrea 020 to check whether you can still grab the physical tape edition, in case you like the sound, or crave a print of this gorgeous cover art, or want to listen to all 12 tracks with real tape wobble artefacts. But back to the music:

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Various Artists – [2007] The Silent Ballet, Volume III: Unfolding a Broken Heart

The Silent Ballet is a past review blog and compilation project. Since 2012, activity has ceased and its founder has since moved on to write for Fragile ǀǀ ¿Extinct?, which now posts occasional reviews and an annual list of 100 tracks/50 albums (very worth checking out).

This entry in the compilation series (16 in total) marks the point when its scope widened from a pure post-rock to a more general experimental musical direction. As with all Ballets, production quality is high to stellar.

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