Various Artists – [2010] Intelligent Toys: We Make Music

Essential experimental IDM. 3 discs, 51 tracks of IDM à la Sutemos are an earful to chew on. Bring popcorn!

This compilation series by netlabel Sutemos is a little bit like vegetables: they are good for you, but they might not taste good at first. This release contains many different flavours, musical vitamins, experiments in sound design, genre-branching dubstep, IDM, cerebral techno, and lots of electro goodness in general. But, the sound is often outside the realm of “standard” harmony, often even completely devoid of it. Like these sentences, it takes some time to wrap one’s head around. So, if you are looking for easy listening while coding, please move on. If you want to enrich a late night party with an eccentric musical backdrop, give it a spin… Continue reading “Various Artists – [2010] Intelligent Toys: We Make Music”

Ryukau – [2015] Muryoku

Minimal bleep sounds. Very experimental science fiction movie backdrop.

Sound samples and single notes from vintage science fiction movies, put together. I would expect to encounter this a) in a over-the-top artsy Scifi movie on ARTE, or b) in a museum for modern art, next to a… interesting piece of metal or unwatchable video montage. Still here? Great, because those tracks are very well put together. Let me give you two samples: Continue reading “Ryukau – [2015] Muryoku”

Edgeist – [2016] Septentrion

Electronic noise something. Odd saw wave sounds over irregular beats.

“Not fun, but effective.” That’s the note I made to myself when adding this release from Portuguese netlabel Enough Records to my review queue. This 5 track EP is from the “power noise” genre, so do not expect Disco, but industrial sounds. Continue reading “Edgeist – [2016] Septentrion”

SEA OF ÅLAND – [2017] Extended Play One

Dark ambient drones. Clearly experimental two-track EP, delivering dark soundscapes direct to your brain.

If you have occasions where “proper music” would be too distracting, but “proper silence” to silent or boring, really ambient music, based mainly on long, drawn out ambient sounds, also called drones, fill a very handy niche. This representative of that genre adds a little rhythm to spice things up, and the end result sounds like you could read The Call of Cthulhu to it. Continue reading “SEA OF ÅLAND – [2017] Extended Play One”

Various Artists – [2017] Dark Of Winter: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Exceptionally broad movie soundtrack. Cool credit punch songs, mystical and disturbing ambient tracks live side by side.

Netlabel blocSonic again manages to surprise me by the breadth of their roster. This compilation, a soundtrack (you may have guessed), covers a wide range of genres from rock to experimental ambient. If you are not looking for dance music, but an exceptional release to feed to your ears, look no further than this. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2017] Dark Of Winter: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Psilodump – [2005] The Night I Lost You All You All

Netlabels come and go, artists stay. This gem of a release was originally released at now defunct label Candy Mind. Its site is offline, domain gone, yet thanks to archives, we can still enjoy its original releases. In this case, though, the artist has salvaged their releases on BandCamp (and added many more over the last years). It contains 8 quirky, yet highly musical tracks: Continue reading “Psilodump – [2005] The Night I Lost You All You All”

Luis Marte & Roger Delahaye – [2017] MOVIL/INMOVIL

Piano meets glitch electronics. Hybrid sound of live recording and studio production.

This is more on the artsy side of the spectrum I am reviewing here, but some broccoli from time to time is good for the taste buds, or so I heard… but sketchy metaphors aside: this release won’t make you dance, but instead tickle your musical senses where they are rarely touched by radio music. Continue reading “Luis Marte & Roger Delahaye – [2017] MOVIL/INMOVIL”

Ramacod – [2017] Fang

Digestible microsampling. Hundreds of millisecond-long snippets, beautifully arranged, form a danceable melange.

This artists knows how to create a distinct sound, that you will be able to recognise, even after just hearing it for once. I guess that producing these arrangements, made from hundreds of tiny sound samples, must be quite laborious. But the effort pays off in a discernible, groovy end result that you certainly won’t forget. Continue reading “Ramacod – [2017] Fang”

Wings Of An Angel – [2016] Vain Crescent

Excellent quiet ambient.

There are times you need punchy beets, strong rhythm, catchy tunes and a sing-along chorus. This album has none of these. Instead, it features lack of beats, only subtle rhythm, uncatchy, drawn-out tunes and no chorus. In short, this music is not intended to be listened to as a primary activity. Rather, it is perfect to accompany situations in which most other music would be distracting: concentrated reading, meditation, or — now that I think of it — writing blog posts… Read on for almost two hours of such music Continue reading “Wings Of An Angel – [2016] Vain Crescent”

Djinnestan – [2004] Rain 1

Dreamy soundscape. Fairytale forest ambiance, masterfully crafted.

When I first encountered this release over ten years ago, I did not like it right away. I just was not yet prepared to accept something this non-musical as background ambience. But if you accept that good background “music” does not have to follow a traditional song structure, you’re in for a hell of a ride. So, darken your room, lower the volume and do something else while this 74 minute track teleports you into an enchanted forest… Continue reading “Djinnestan – [2004] Rain 1”

Golden Grey – [2016] Awaken the Wolf

Glitch-craft ambient. Beautiful electro sound, aiming at the space between C148’s Minecraft and soft, minimal synth quirkiness.

More than a year after I received this public review suggestion on my blog’s About page, I finally got into the right mood for reviewing this quiet gem. If you search for uplifting power pop music, stop right here! If you seek a calm and subtle delight, read on. Continue reading “Golden Grey – [2016] Awaken the Wolf”

M-PeX – [2017] Carianae

Portuguese electro ambient guitar. Excellent mostly instrumental guitar and contrabass, just with a tiny bit of electronic ambience in the background. The release for me has an incredibly intense cinematic touch. Highly recommended for headphones to capture the subtle effects. Already a modern classic, I would say. Continue reading “M-PeX – [2017] Carianae”

Various Artists – [2009] Netaudio 2009 – Acroplane and The Centrifuge

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Classic netaudio sampler. Nowadays, netlabel Acroplane release new albums on Bandcamp. Unfortunately, they did not move all their releases there. Fortunately, their back catalogue is archived at my favourite well-known place. This compilation has 18 diverse tracks from chiptunes over breakcore to glitchy IDM. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2009] Netaudio 2009 – Acroplane and The Centrifuge”

The Rare Plants Garden – [2011] The Rare Plants Garden

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Folkish exotica indiepop. Sort of. Meh, this release hates to be squashed into three descriptive words. Are it the skewed notes (like MGMT), the torn vocals (like indie pop sounds today) or the exotic ukulele and beach sounds, that make this task so difficult? I can’t tell. In order not to confuse you too much, I only preview my favorite track from this release: Continue reading “The Rare Plants Garden – [2011] The Rare Plants Garden”

XOC – [2005] Super Mario World

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Analogue reinterpretation of a legendary console game soundtrack. With almost 400,000 downloads from the Internet Archive servers), this release is of the classic gems of free music. Multi-instrumentalist XOC took the effort of precisely reproducing the original score for the SNES game Super Mario World, instrument by instrument, track by track. By using real instruments instead of an old sound chip, the sound changed from bleepy synthetic to a wooden, used aesthetic. Hear for yourself: Continue reading “XOC – [2005] Super Mario World”

Carlo Serafini – [2011] Gammatar

Why always stick to the boring, twelve-halftones-per-octave, well-tempered diatonic scale? That’s what Wendy Carlos (creator of the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Clockwork Orange) might have thought when inventing his muscic scales Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

Carlo Serafini took the Gamma scale, tune his guitar and recorded nine songs with this tuning. The sound is strangely familiar, yet uncommon and irritating. Better listen and find out yourself… Continue reading “Carlo Serafini – [2011] Gammatar”

Chenard Walcker – [2005] Archisex

Obscure 70s funk samples, harvested from a supposedly vast record collection, are mixed together to create a strange, groovy sound. This album consists of ten tracks with a total playtime of 25 minutes.

Creator of this album is Chenard Walcker, a sampling artist who has released a lot of albums on the Internet Archive in his own netlabel called Free Sample Zone. Continue reading “Chenard Walcker – [2005] Archisex”

Various Artists – [2004] Swingin’ Singles

Various Artists – [2004] Swingin’ Singles

The Comfort Stand netlabel is one of the strangest out there. It doesn’t focus on experimental sound in the sense of noise, bleep and clicking sounds, but in terms of a colourful mixture of artists, genres and styles. One song is a typical pop song, the next one would fit a ghost ride or seems to be written by someone on drugs. This release is a double album presenting the whole range of strangeness you can find in other releases by this label. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2004] Swingin’ Singles”

Various Artists – [2008] So Much Achieved. So Much Left To Do.

Various Artists - [2008] So Much Achieved. So Much Left To Do.

This album is the 50th release of the netlabel 12rec. from Germany. It covers the range of the label which mainly publishes experimental guitar music with a touch of folk. 17 different tracks wait to be discovered. I present my three favourites in the following. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2008] So Much Achieved. So Much Left To Do.”