Saturday, February 13, 2016

027 - “Sometimes” by Goldmund

I heard a track from “Sometimes” by Goldmund (aka Keith Kenniff aka Helios) on the All Songs Considered podcast and was knocked down by a wave of graceful elegance & exquisite beauty. I immediately stopped what I was doing (walking my dog Tinker in our neighbourhood) pulled out my iPhone and rewound the podcast so I could listen again.

"Sometimes" is a remarkable album: delicate melodies played on a piano that are backed by deep, engaging electronic ambience to create an absolutely stunning collection of tracks. These tracks enthral me as the listener, being both highly contemplative and gently romantic;

The title track - "Sometimes" - is exemplary: it is a cinematic masterpiece that could easily feature of the soundtrack to the latest character-drive Sundance-winner. Kenniff's use of strings is powerful, reminding me of Rhian Sheehan or earlier Sigur Rós. It was this track that inspired me to seek out the album ... I was not disappointed with the other unheard tracks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

026 - "Winter Loops" by Darren Harper

Drones are not for everyone. Whilst I've come to appreciate the simple, minimal beauty of a deliberately sustained note, I get that others may not share my view.

I find drones, when approached with imagination and creativity, to be wonderfully escapist: I lose myself in the wall-of-sound that is prepared and then presented by the musician.

My love stems from the music of Henryk Górecki and, in particular, his third symphony which opens with long chords that build in intensity. I'll never forget the first time I heard his masterpiece: it broadened my appreciation of music and opened up new doors of inquiry.

Darren Harper is an ambient musician who approaches his soundscapes with imagination and creativity. His latest release on Bandcamp - "Winter Loops" - is a four track EP that utilises sustained sound as the foundation for further loops, electronic manipulation and guitar-based melodic experimentation.

I found "Winter Loops" to feature the kind of escapist ambience that I love: short pieces that initially capture then reward my attention with their expressiveness.

I would recommend this EP for the exquisitely  glacial grace of the fourth and final track - "In Fragile Repose" - but that would do a disservice to the other three tracks, all of which are exceptional in their own right.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

025 - This Patch Of Sky

I recently picked up This Patch Of Sky's self-titled album. I was following their antics on Instagram (their concerts look amazing!) and wanted to hear their latest album, having an older album (Newly Risen, How Brightly You Shine) on my iPod.

Their self-titled album is a belter, it is everything great about postrock music: deep, engaging soundscapes made up of catchy melodies and expressive dynamics; the innovative use of instrumentation such as the cello, tin whistle and mouth organ (I think) to complement the guitars, keys and drums; these instruments add real breadth to the sound presented ... powerful instrumental soundscapes that allow me, as the listener, to drift away. This Patch Of Sky is all this and more, a grower that just gets better with each subsequent listen.

The only criticism I have is why it has taken me until now to pick it up!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

023 - The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble are an interesting proposition: expressive instrumental music with a strong jazzy vibe that has far more in common with downtempo electronica that it does with more contemporary jazz.

I found this album by accident. I came upon it whilst scrolling through the vast selection in Amazon's Prime Music Service ... the name caught my attention and I gave it a listen. I was so impressed with what I heard that I went and bought it on iTunes. Unfortunately the CD is out of print and was going for an extortionate amount on Amazon when I last checked.

TKDE create wonderfully deep and engaging soundscapes that place considerable emphasis on feel and atmosphere. These soundscapes have a decidedly percussive slant to them (hence my reference to current downtempo electronica) with layers of percussion and capricious polyrhythms presented for the listener to consume.

Traditional jazz instrumentation - trumpet, saxophone, stand-up bass - works with electronic manipulation to create their expressive soundscapes, soundscapes I would highly recommend.