Tag Archives: ambient

Music Moment: Isobel Ccircle~ , ‘Asterism’


Morning all y’alls!

One of the interesting things about summertime for me now I’m at uni is that I get this weird feeling of space. most of my semester time is mostly undertaken in a default setting of mild chaos and stress. It’s a constant conveyor belt of lectures, essay readings and writings and spending most of the time leaning across to my classmates and saying “um… what did he just say again?” All in all a constant stream of low-level anxiety.

But now that summer is here and the classes finished last month, it’s like I’ve been unshackled and unhooded, the door to my cell has been opened and I’ve been pushed out into the glaring sun, with a deep voice going “now fuck off till September” before the door closes behind me. As i blink and rub my eyes and stretch me legs, I simple ask myself, “What now?”

Of course I now have other worries and anxieties to think about – finding and getting work, getting enough hours, paying the bills (or which there are many). It’s the first time in a many year when my working life has been filled with a precariousness where I constantly wonder if I can afford to pay my way on a lot of things.

But this Summer is also the first in a while since I’ve been able to think. To think about a lot of things, and allow my mind to drift and wander. not so much as a daydream, but simply taking the time to ponder and read whatever I have that comes to hand. IT’s also the first time in a while when I’m starting to think a little differently about the music I’m hearing on my social feed and what I receive from people, as well as it’s place zones of experience and chaotic thought processing.

One such record I received recently was Asterism, the latest release from ISOBEL CCIRCLE~, the continuing collaborative project between Arpil Larsson and Matt Bower. Between the two of them they’ve been producing a fairly hefty body of musical works – April has been releasing under her own name for a while now (She’s also the proud owner of Dorian, the most beautiful wide-eyed cat in the world (I want to make a noise rock band named Dorian Flump), While Matt has been particularly busy, releasing numerous albums and collabs as WIZARDS TELL LIES and THE REVENANT SEA. They both specialise in that interstitial mode of drone/ambient/noise creation, with Matt taking things to a different route via kosmiche and krautrock inflected jams. But the two together make some incredibly stark, brooding soundscapes. I was first made aware of Isobel Ccircle when they released fluttercage on Jonny Mugwump’s Exotik Pylon label a couple of years back. since then they’ve fone on to make a few more releases for the likes of  Auditory Field Theory label and Matt’s own Chapelyard Records.

Now they have Asterism out on Soft Bodies Records. What I rather enjoy when listening to Isobel Ccircle’s music is the rather inhuman nature of it all, encompassing unnatural hauntings and sounds that provoke strange feelings of a decidedly Lovecraftian otherness. The fact that their soundcloud page starts off with the phrase “Transmissions From Elsewhere” only emphasizes this point. But isn’t that the whole point of ambient music in the first place? It’s attempting to make music of a certain locale that articulates the atmosphere and worldview of the world from the point of view of the locale itself. Humans are meant to be secondary (at best) participants/agents in these pieces.

And that world-in-itself feeling comes across nicely in Asterism. The blurb states that “These audio files appear to contain subsonic elements that alter the chemical compositions and geological structures of the surrounding area.” The sounds that they detect, warp and treat with human hands come across as  a mix of inhuman drones and noises that drift and mush together. the heavy rumble of the world-in-itself makes its presence several times during the record, like a geological mother calling for its children. The haunting aspect in Asterism comes from the human elements that continually threaten to break the dimensional barrier and infect the world-in-itself with its filth and malfeasance. A slight waft of piano here, a distant voice there. This is a world where rocks and crystals have feelings and emotions and able to talk and communicate with each other, but not on any level that the human sphere would understand. it is a soundworld that’s inexplicable yet strangely familiar; probably because we live just of each other perceptions.

But have a listen for yourselves. I’m off out to have some lunch!

Good day….

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in music


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Album Reviews: The Quietus: Jon Brooks, ‘Walberswick’


Second quick fire post of the day – a review of Jon Brooks’ stunning ambient effort Walberswick for The Quietus is now available to read.

i find myself delving more and more into the nature of music and topography/memory. I haven’t been to the coast of Suffolk (my brother’s Partner/Babymama Lis actually mentioned after this was posted that she and my niece went to Walberswick a couple of months ago to go crabbing), but the fact that the music came across as very evocative of the place from what I had seen in my research on the area (Suffolk wildlife trust brochures, documentaries on WG Sebald and Sizewell B nuclear power station down the road, plus re-reading Mark Fisher’s Ghosts Of My Life book). As i mention in the review, it’s a soundtrack to a very peculiar hinterland in the British landscape.

This is something that may need a little piece written about in the next few weeks. Music that evokes a sense of time and place, even if it isn’t necessarily your time or your place. This is going into esoteric/ritual music territory again….

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Posted by on June 3, 2015 in music


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Music Moment: Machinedrum, “Rise N Fall”

Evening all….

Goddamn things just feel busy right now. Of course they’re not, not in the literal you-have–a-million-deadlines-that-have-to-be-done-yesterday sort of thing. But the last week has seen my spare time spent ripping some very creaky old Icelandic vinyl records so they can be converted to MP3 files. I thought my mate Sævar was only going to give me a couple of records, but naturally he gave me more than a dozen LPs and nearly a dozen 7″ records. It’s taken me a week just to rip them and that’s even before i get to cleaning/tagging/converting the files. I’ll tell you all bout it sometime…

And to top it all off, I only went and spilt kjötsúpa over my keyboard at the weekend, so mow everything is gunky and stick, even after a clean up. Sigh… another new keyboard is required by the end of this month it seems. I can barely type the letter “a” as it is!

Oh, if you have the time, then go over the Grapevine’s airwaves site, as Haukur gets stuck into the colface wheb he speaks to Högni from the band Hjaltalín. Apparently it was a very intense experience, calling each other between the USA and Siberia. But the results make for compelling reading…

As for tonight’s listening – well I’m not one to make rash judgments (It´s a mug’s game apparently), but once in  while you get an album and you think in your heart of hearts that it should be given a lofty title and prediction towards its implied greatness. And for me this should go to ‘Vapor City,’ the latest album from MACHINEDRUM. It´s only received middling reviews from the likes of the Guardian and the NME, but as they usually know fuck all about dance and electronic music in general, then they can safely be disregarded. For me though I do truly believe that this is an album that could (and should) be this generation’s version of LTJ Bukem’s ‘Logical Progression.’

Why do I say this? well firstly the way he meshes and weaves DnB and footwork styles into a propulsive skittery frame that allows his sounds to hang off them so easily. His grooves are smoooooth as cream. The second is the ambient sounds he makes. With an obvious debt to Burial in the specifically placed vinyl cracks and rustles, the ambient sounds he produces are full of snippets of deep emotive vocal sighs and murmurs, stretched till they provide a glistening skin of aural desire. This album may have been released on Ninja Tune, but really its spiritual home is that of Tri Angle Records, home of numerous melted, hypnotic sounds and electronic/vocal mutations.

The track “Rise N Fall” is for me the best example of the albums style. Starting off with a vocal cry that’s submerged running underneath a clean simple bassline and a tightly wound junglist breakbeat, it slowly raises above the surface as the vocal sound multiplies and builds on itself, until it takes on a slightly devout,, almost divine aspect, all the while contrasted by the slipped, repeated vocal sample that pushed the track to its final place.

This track is just so luxurious and thick in sound, you can just hear it numerous times and not get bored with it. It´s an album that contains many slow burn floor movers, as well as head tunes that allow you  to disconnect from your daily grind. Essential.


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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in music, Video


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Music Moment, The Implicit Order, “Cults”

One of the more interesting trends to be seen with internet music over the last 18 months is the phenomenon of the “Time Stretched” music track. Put simply, it’s when you take a track and with some simple software, stretch it to near astronomical levels. The end result is something that’s actually rather extraordinary. It’s the taking of a piece of sound and pulling it apart to the point where you’re hearing the gaps between the music. You’re listening to music at a granular, molecular level, where the sound waves take such a time to change, it has the sensation more likes dunes of sand shifting in the wind.  

Some of the tracks made create an extra level or spookiness onto something that is already dark and menacing.


It can make almost any track sound decent…..


It´s this level of time being pulled apart, of a central fixed point of focus that I hear when I listen to the music made by THE IMPLICIT ORDER. The (now solo) project of Anthony Washburn, he´s been diving through the realm of underground tape music in the US for over two decades now. Here’s the bio (So i don’t have to parse and retype it)… 

The Implicit Order started in 1989 as a Mail Art project and by the early 1990’s it developed into a full-time musical project incorporating many of the early Industrial/Experimental ideas of the late 70’s, 1980’s and beyond. The band always tried to inject a sense of the Occult, humor and an off-kilter view into the image and recordings. The Implicit Order was active in the Cassette Culture of the 1990’s up to 2001. In 2002 the band took a break from recording and resumed in 2008. I/O have released many recordings on Cassette, CD, CDR, and digital download and have appeared on various compilations. ..

This off-kilter look at the world can be heard in one of their recent release on their Bandcamp page, ‘Cults.’ Taking its inspiration from the myriad of cults and sects that contaminated the western world in the ’70s & ’80s, many of the tracks utilise aspect of granular, timestretched sound to create a woozy, listless undertow that sets the listener adrift from their surroundings, pulling you gently into its sphere of influence…. Just like a cult you would say. I can imagine this is how it must be like in the head of an indoctrinated member anyway.  All the while you’re gently bombarded with sermons/chants/ohms from the great and good, beckoning you to drink the aural kool aid and join them in their alien paradise.

After listening to this, I for one now accept my new lords and masters as they’ve promised me my place in technocrat heaven, where the Angels have metallic wings and clouds are made of strings of condensed data.



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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in music


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Mixes: Nordic Interstitial Thresholds: The Winter Sacrament…


A new mix is up and running from our brethren at Nordic Interstitial thresholds…..

“The latest episode of Nordic Interstitial Thresholds is a soundtrack to unyielding grip of winter.

A blend of cold sounds and bleak beats that evoke the time when the days are at their shortest and the air cuts the flesh to the bone.

For best effect, switch the lights off in your remote cabin and sit in the corner while it plays…..”

Sounds very chilly indeed. If you like what you hear, then you download a hi-quality version HERE.

Happy listening!


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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in mixes, music


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8Tracks Mix: Hypertime Unbound….


Man i don’t feel that well at all. Feels like an alien face sucker has planted something particularly nasty and scraping behind my left eye, that’s pressing on optical nerve while simultaneously producing enough phlegm and snot to keep Jabba The Hut lubricated for the next decade or so. Am trying to play some soft music and watch old BBC Arena documentaries on YouTube, but it’s not working too well.

So instead i thought i would make a nice 8tracks mix for your pleasure. Transverse Hypertime with your very own Interdimensional driving mix!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in mixes, music


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Music Moment: Fabio Orsi, “Endless Autumn”


Well it’s the beginning of a new week. Last week was a complete write off thanks to my kitteh’s escapades. Oh and Aðalsteinn’s stag do, where i got to appreciate Sunn O))) in a whole new (and rather embarrassing) way. But fuck that, most of the toxins are leaching out of my system, and my cat is back safe and sound, although he does look a little messed up by the whole experience.

No matter. I have just type up a review which will probably be either the best, or most ludicrous, review i’Ve ever done. And it probably won’t get printed, but what the fuck, it had to get done in my head, and that’s all that matters.

and to help me along with all this deep though, some truly expansive and beautiful, post-rock/ambient drone soup courtesy of Mr Fabio Orsi. This is his current latest release “Endless Autumn” which was available for a while on bandcamp, but has strangely disappeared. Nevermind, it’s a wonderful piece of music that it seems the Italians can make with ease these days. Go and check out his other stuff. Me, i´m off to investigate some new Icelandic music.


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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in music, Video


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