Various Artists – [2011] BACKUP11

Exceptional chiptune compilation for Platine Festival in Cologne. Great contributions from well-known artists.

If you want to saviour a varied selection of different classic 8-bit as well as modern interpretations of the genre, look no further. From classic pure console sounds to blends of chip and studio music you can feel served. I can fully recommend each of the 10 tracks, yet will only showcase you the habitual two here:

Continue reading “Various Artists – [2011] BACKUP11”

Boogie Belgique – [2014] Nightwalker (Vol. 2)

Old swing samples meet instrumental hip hop loops. Both casually and dancually enjoyable.

Back in 2013, Belgian (surprise!) producer Boogie Belgique published Vol. 1 of this series (ojdo reported). Only one year later, this gem followed. Time for me to follow up: like before, modern percussion arrangements are woven together with vintage recordings, carefully curated, sliced and spliced to create a tasty blend that could be described as instrumental hip hop. But this is only half true. Listen to hear for yourself:

Continue reading “Boogie Belgique – [2014] Nightwalker (Vol. 2)”

Planet Boelex – [2013] Exist

Short like an EP, full like a compilation. Uplifting ambient electronica at its best.

A short album, but varied like a compilation: 6 tracks, 3 of which are compilations, and 2 remixes make this a small festival in all things ambient electronica.
It marked the end of a three year hiatus. And what a bombastic, I mean, relaxing, way to do that. If you have not yet Planet Boelex on your mental shortlist for acoustic bubble baths, here is your ticket:

Continue reading “Planet Boelex – [2013] Exist”

Saito Koji – [2009] Time / Line

Essential ambient drone music. Literally takes its time.

Take your time. Got it? Then take some more. This album is the slowest of slow music. Even among drone, which is the genre, it is one of the slower entries. Single, long-stretched notes fade in and out for literally minutes. In a sense, this soundscape realises what trance music promises. Low volume and background listening are crucial for enjoyment…

Continue reading “Saito Koji – [2009] Time / Line”

Knoxband – [2009] Equinox

Extremely shoe-gazy, ambient progressive or even post rock. Percussion only starts for the finale. Amazement during the intro.

Knoxband is the ambient post rock project by artist Vru Patel, whose albums always incorporate airy, vast, even stellar soundscapes. While this review highlights the start of this musical journey, give the appropriately named Solstice a try to see where his sound landed three years later. But first, have the appetizers:

Continue reading “Knoxband – [2009] Equinox”

Fla Vector – [2013] RED

Industrial synth-wave dubstep from Belarus. Fans of The Prodigy please step closer. And start dancing.

Except for The Prodigy, it took me some tracks to recall the other association my memory was hesitant to draw, but then it clicked: the first instalments of the Command & Conquer realtime strategy games back in the 90’s had a similar, uncompromising metallic sound. Thoroughly danceable and yet highly cinematic, this would make for great party backdrop on a thematic dance night.

Continue reading “Fla Vector – [2013] RED”

Klangwald – [2012] Tolerance & Courage EP

Calm and deliberate electronica backdrop. Not fighting for your attention, earning it just the more for it.

Not much has been written online about this nice & short EP. All tracks feature their own catchy main theme, which then develops into about five minutes of slightly derivative pleasant background music. There are no excited guitar solos, dramatic bass drops or seductive vocals. Just plain, good, honest electronica straight from the producer.

Continue reading “Klangwald – [2012] Tolerance & Courage EP”

Brk – [2015] IIIIII

Ice-cold dub techno, the gin tonic of music. Edgy synths, minimal harmonies, and subdued percussion.

Dub techno is not for every day. It has a distinct lack of mood, neither happy nor sad. Then there’s the minimal harmonies, the long-form stretches of monotonous monotony. So what’s to like? Actually, I don’t really know. But on certain days, the meditative nature, the lack of a clear mood, and the analytical sound just work.

Continue reading “Brk – [2015] IIIIII”

Various Artists – [2007] Share It Spread It Love It

Antique pop compilation. From the rather early days of high quality free music publishing.

At the time, trying to publish music outside the traditional channels (music labels) was still quite out of the ordinary. No Bandcamp, no Jamendo, no Free Music Archive. All those only came to life during the last 10 years. If you this release’s style, have a listen to the curators other compilations, mixes and podcasts, all neatly stored for our future pleasure. But now, lend my two picks an ear (or two):

Continue reading “Various Artists – [2007] Share It Spread It Love It”

Planet Boelex – [2010] Raja

Majestic ambient electronica. Slowly building soundscapes with deliberate beats like pillars.

I have already praised Planet Boelex much in an earlier review about their 2009 album. One year later, they put out another EP, both illustratively (cover art) and acoustically (songs) high above the clouds. Unlike last time, this is a solo release without featured vocals.

Continue reading “Planet Boelex – [2010] Raja”