Reviewed this week
Here's a glorious selection of 12 bright and sun-drenched moments destined to be heard daily at the world's coolest beach clubs this summer and inevitably soundtracking a million gorgeous sunsets in Ibiza. This edition features exclusives aplenty. There are two album-only tracks; Tommy Awards gets an Ambient remix from Balearic's Jim Breese. Then The Madrigal blasts off with 'Ride To The Moon,' a completely unique track that's refreshing to hear. Three tracks were previously unavailable digitally, including the debut from Nancy Noise, Olefonken's spacey remix of Hubbabubbaklubb, and Steve Cobby's tropical-jazz remix of Penelope Antena's Tradewinds. Other highlights include Cantoma's 'Abando,' plus an incredible, modern interpretation of the 80's classic Southern Freeez from Paul Murphy. BALEARIC 3 captures the ineffable spirit of Ibiza - perfectly accompanying that unique moment when the golden sun meets the gleaming sea. It's destined to be a classic, go-to album you'll reach for again and again.
This is the first ambient release from James Clements aka ASC on Auxiliary since 2011's collaborative album with Sam KDC entitled Decayed Society. As with the majority of Clements' recent work, this release continues the theme of his fascination with space. The term title refers to dwarf planets and asteroids that lay beyond Neptune and are usually found in the Kuiper Belt. With that being said, you can guess that this album is seriously deep space ambient. A total of eight tracks spanning 73, which will take you to the deepest regions of our solar system. One of the most instrumental figures behind the seminal Autonomic sound in the late noughties continues to impress us with his studio wizardry.
Optimo Music presents a new sub label named So Low, after the night of the same name in Glasgow run by Becky Marshall, Iona Fortune (who brought us one of the year's best albums recently), boss man JD Twitch and Katie Shambles. The inaugural release is from local act Happy Meals, a duo comprised of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook. Full Ashram just happens to be the name of their recording studio and the release is said to be their connecting with their cosmic inner selves. The label have also stated that the music here is capable of banishing demons, devils and ill will and is comprised of individual tracks segueing into each other. But, for full salvation: it is recommended to be listened to as one continuous session. We took on the challenge and can assure you: it is quite the trip!
Gary Caruth's Sad City project has progressively attracted ever more praise, not least since his Shapes In Formation album landed last year. Straddling purest ambient and abstract rhythmical electronica with a unique approach that is all his own, Caruth is returning to Emotional Rescue with a 10" that revisits three of the tracks from Shapes In Formation and magnifies them as the longer form versions they originally were. "Music Removed" was a particularly strong track on the album, and this new extended version lets the pneumatic percussion and soulful vocal croon bleed together in the most captivating of ways. "Patterns" sounds even more elegant in its pagan ambient finery with a longer run time, and "Vexillations" flits between poised static and cascading chimes with the deft touch that has come to define the Sad City sound.
Emotional Response delivers a mini-album of ambient-equatorial enlightenment by Australia's mysterious Tropical Hi-Fi. The final record from an artist appearing on the label's SchleiBen series, this also points to the future. Based somewhere in the far flung Northern Territories, the music of Hi-Fi's pre-incarnation Electric Egypt was first discovered via the note-worthy airwaves of L.A's outstanding Dublab radio station. As the wonderfully diverse internet shows and project's dense, hip-hop inspired collages came to fruition with 2012's Exotica release, a dual awareness and sporadic contact was maintained whenever a signal could be established with Hi-Fi base camp. As the SchleiBen series was formed, the studio-DJ-cut-up-mix of Oceanic Mythology was warmly received as an inspired counterpoint to the dense offering from Don't DJ. These first real solo recordings from the Hi-Fi crew - whoever he/she/they maybe - moves on from the cut'n'paste of Electric Egypt to seek a meditative vision. Ambient, balearic and field recordings are all part of a drifting tropical flavour that encompasses the listener. Music truly inspired by it's surroundings, this is not some music journal, flying in to sample a life and it's sounds, but the real, living entity and it can be heard deep across the 8 short pieces. None is more typified than Tahiti Blue, where fellow traveller Mike Cooper layers his ubiquitous steel blues over simple, lilting drums. Enjoy.
Those with a passion for drone textures and off-kilter ambient recordings should already be familiar with the work of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. The New York-based Californian multi-instrumentalist has spent the last decade sauntering between labels, releasing a string of well-regarded albums in the process. On The Echoing Green is his second full-length for Mexican Summer. It sees him expertly blurring the boundaries between drone, ambient and dub techno, presenting a range of cuts that flit between clandestine moodiness, sparkling beauty and mood-enhancing bliss. Check, for example, the shoegaze-influenced brilliance of "Echoing Green" and "Tenderness", the distorted, intergalactic noise of "Vulgar Latin" and the layered field recordings of "Door To Night".