isolatedmix 76 - Dalot: Un-time


Maria Papadomanolaki has been a part of the ASIP library for a few years now.  One of the first artists that caught my ear on the n5MD label, I remember seeing Maria perform many-years ago in London alongside Winterlight and port-royal. Dalot's shoegaze-inspired ambient drones kicked off a brilliant night of relatively unheard artists from the n5MD roster that left me chasing down many back-catalogs as a newbie to n5MD.

After providing a remix on Uncharted Places, Maria was a part of our second vinyl compilation, Europe, finding harmony as she looked back at her home of Kalathas beach in Greece, and setting a warm and gracious tone as the opening track. Her music is often varied as far as ambient goes, from delicate micro-textures, to guitar-laden soundscapes, or as heard on her most recent outing for n5MD in Mutogibito; a moment of rebirth and celebration embracing her post-rock-side, whilst also toying with the more organic elements of experimental electronica.

Just as you think you've got her down, Maria goes and partners with Vietnam's, Sound Awakener, on a new project called 'Little Things', further venturing into microscopic details and varied textures; something the two of them have clearly enjoyed partnering on. Guitars, analog synthesizers and of course a multitude of field recordings create a truly rich and varied palette of ambient and experimental recordings on this release for Fluid Audio. It's music that's evidently filled with heart, obsessed over, and then completed with the tiniest of finishes in mind - a sentiment echoed in Fluid Audio's beautiful packaging for the release.

When I asked for a Dalot isolatedmix, I didn't know which way Maria would take it, but the end result works in harmony with how I began to describe her work alongside Sound Awakener in Little Things

Titled 'Un-time', it's a mix of music that bleeds emotion, texture and escapism - all similar traits found in her latest production. A connoisseur of instrumental and organic based ambient music, Maria includes masters of the practice such as Marsen Jules, Taylor Deupree and Harold Budd, to create a blanket of warmth, as microscopic sounds of an abstract nature surround you. 

In Maria's own words, “Un-time offers an open space, a space for undoing and reflection and un-timing, of stepping out of time and the awareness of its passage;  like a mayfly or a dewdrop with shades, and light and colours of many shapes and makings, mostly untimed.”

Little Things is available now.



01. Eliane Radigue – L’ile Re-sonante (un-time edit)
02. Philip Jeck -  The All of Water
03. Marsen Jules – Beatyfear VIII
04. Josh Mason – Infinite Crown of Shells
05. Taylor Deupree – Shoals
06. Christina Kubisch  - Night Shift
07. Dalot & Sound Awakener – Sailing
08. Sawako – Wind Shower Particle
09. Deaf Center – Fiction Dawn
10. Harold Budd – Children on the Hill

Artwork/image credit:: sonalidalal

Dalot on Bandcamp | Webn5MD


The National Pool - Relaxation Tape for Solo Space Travel


Oh, Infraction... thank god for labels that continue to dig deep and present us with obscure, original and refreshing ambient music. There, that's all I need to say on this one, right?...

Ask any record-store that stocks a half-decent ambient collection (at least in the US), and the shop-owner will pay their respect to the quality of releases that Infraction stand behind. The label that brought us Parks, Offthesky & Pleq, Drape, Celer and many more, now unearth this Russian Cosmonaut inspired release by The National Pool

Harkening back to a time when the 'USSR' was an industrial power-house - when, "Our moon stations made their incredible flights! The atomic icebreaker was put into operation and the construction of the world's largest nuclear power plants is successfully happening", the release is like a half-speed black-and-white news video of the great successes and celebrations of the Russian people.

I can see the Cosmonauts boarding their aircraft, and the people waving their flags from the lookout deck. I picture the space shuttle leaving the Earth's orbit as the Cosmonauts looked at each other in disbelief, realizing the gravitas of their situation and the fact a whole nation is behind them - caught within a tin-can hurtling into pitch black nothingness. 

No wonder they needed a relaxation tape... 

So far, it sounds like a clear ambient cliché - and you're probably expecting space samples, radio interceptions and Russian distress signals. Whilst the release isn't devoid of these things, it goes several steps further in providing sometimes melancholic piano moments in Net Rain, and Gas inspired textures in Brick Cloud - Area 2, rounding out an incredible release that paints a truly vivid picture of a moment in time, all through the porthole of a USSR Cosmonaut, thousands of feet up in the air. 

Available on Bandcamp. 


Ourson - Simple Sanctuary


Luke Hazard, aka Ourson is one of our original ASIP finds, dating back to 2011 when we stumbled across one of his first albums, Warming Plant. This album still remains one of his strongest in my opinion and indeed my favorite (if only for the brilliant opener in, 237). However Luke's latest offering includes tracks from as far back as 2006, ensuring an overlap with the Warming Plant-production-era and a promise of similar-sounding textures. 

Whilst Ourson can also be heard capturing some amazing field recordings in 'Collected Natures', his latest album Simple Sanctuary gets back to the lo-fi, deep and textured recordings that made Warming Plant so special. Just like the artwork depicts, a very subtle, perhaps off-kilter edit on what would be a very innocent scene, Luke's music follows a similar suit. Extended drones harbor amongst echoes and reverb, with subtle melodies punctuating an otherwise dense blanket of rumbling bass, static and distant filed recordings. 

Whilst some tracks, like Gems Of The Dry Season, ring hope and light, others such as Sunbeams Through Treelines portray a more ghostly and ethereal sense. There's often a very deep, driving swell amongst Luke's music, pushing it along into (sometimes) deep-dubby-techno-territory, with  tracks such as We Fell (The Well) immersing the listener into a cloudier, more cotton-wool based Deepchord world. It all makes for a varied and emotional listening experience, invoking the kind of nostalgia you can only get from old equipment, and a musician with his ear to the ground. 

Luke calls is "sci-fi ambient for dusty basement tape decks", and to be honest, I couldn't put it better myself. 

Available on Bandcamp


James Zabiela / Balance 029 (Feat. Merrin Karras' 'Void')


Flash-back to 2003(ish), I'm spending my weekend in the great British countryside at Homelands festival - a now defunct franchise that was one of the best dance music festival alternatives to the ever-indie-focused Glastonbury. Not content with two-days of dancing in a field, a few friends and I decided to drive to the coastal town of Southampton to jump on a boat the next day and see James Zabiela do his thing, whilst we nonchalantly sailed around the harbor.

This was at a time when CDJ's were only just becoming the norm for mixing, and James was one of the only DJ's doing anything better than looping a few Defected vocals... James had turned the CDJ's into a performance of its own, combining additional effects units, Kaoss Pads, (likely) prototypes from Pioneer, and his electro-acid techno. It was in retrospect, one of my favorite DJ experiences, watching someone behind the controls up close, swaying back and forth (from the boat, of course). 

James duly continued on his upward trajectory and is now one of dance music's most celebrated technical DJ's. His 'Alive' mix CD from 2004 contains one of my all-time favorite transitions - those goose-bump-inducing moments that stick with you forever as an aspiring DJ - when the slow-burning synths of Underworld's 'Dark & Long' gradually grew under the electro-tinge of Rob Mello's 'Fantasize (No Ears dub)'. 


Since then, mirroring a general trend across the industry, DJ "mix CD's" have taken a back-seat to the onslaught of streaming activity and the newfound ability for anyone to upload mixes to Soundcloud or Mixcloud. The commercialization of mixes became less desirable to labels and curators when faced with the fact DJ's could upload something on a whim for their audience to hear in a matter of minutes. For free, with no licensing concerns.

The Balance Series, however, have stuck with their guns with a steady churn of quality CD-first mixes over the years. The Australian based label, helmed by Tom Pandzic, has played home to one of my all-time favorite mixes in 2003 (James Holden's Balance 005) as well as  notable mixes from Joris Voorn, Nick Warren and Danny Howells amongst many others. All this to say very simply, two of my favorite musical entities have now combined, with an added ASIP dimension...

James Zabiela's latest addition to the series is a welcome return to the art of the mix CD. For those that grew up listening to Sasha, Digweed and the Global Underground series, you'll know just what I mean.

After an arduous year spent compiling, the deserved result is an intertwined journey of the many varying aspects of electronic music - a blueprint for what a truly passionate and time-inducing mix should become. Add to that, the technical wizardry (and added restraint) of Zabiela, and the seamlessness and innovation contained across the two 'Acts' is impeccable. 

"Some people know me for my technical noodling but this really had to be about the music, whilst still challenging myself technically. My focus was very heavily on melody and combining songs that would have ‘conversations’ with each other." - James Zabiela

This approach is perhaps best highlighted for those of us who may recognize ASIP's very own Merrin Karras within the tracklist. Brendan's track, 'Void' forming a euphoric moment of progression when paired with the heavy-hitting broken beats of Pev & Kowton

You'll also hear tracks in here from Goldmund (Helios) and Steve Hauschildt for example, but whether you recognize them amongst the many edits, layers and transitions, is another question, often serving as intros or melodies amongst a greater sound. 

James' mix also serves as a great snapshot in time for me personally. Not only am I extremely happy to see ASIP artists being picked up (or even listened to) in this capacity, but the great variety of labels and artists that are featured here are a perfect example of the type of music I'm enjoying these past few years. The  previously mentioned artists of course, alongside music and artists from Northern Electronics, Mule Musiq, Traum (see Traumbient), I Love Acid, Delsin... I could go on, but then I'm just describing 90% of the track list. 

A big thank you to James for digging deep, looking beyond the norm and spending the time to curate such a considered and insightful journey, whilst capturing the very essence of electronic music over the past few years. Perhaps, this mix will serve as a pivotal moment in time, when the need for something greater then a streamed mix compiled in a couple of weeks, plays a back seat to a physical mix obsessed over for many months. The bar just got put back up. 

More info and links to buy. 

Buy Merrin Karras' album, Apex. 

James Zabiela / Balance 029 : Tracklisting

1. Sapphire Slows – Silent Escape [Mundus]
2. Kornél Kovács – Szikra [Studio Barnhus]
3. Barry Lynn – Alpha Tauri [Touch Sensitive]
4. Earlham Mystics – Truth [Notown]
5. B12 – Untold [Central Processing Unit]
6. VC-118A – Face the Waves [Lunar Disko Records]
7. Grandbrothers – Bloodflow [City Slang]
8. Sad City – Steady Jam [Emotional Response]
9. Talaboman – Safe Changes [R&S Records]
10. Francisco Branda – Hyena [Traumuart]
11. Ecco Foul – Gloss [Ecco Foul]
12. Pye Corner Audio – Dead Ends [I Love Acid]
13. HOLOVR – Into Light [Further]
14. Debussy – Reverie 68 [Second Story & Appleblim Rework) [Decca]
15. Island People – Distance 7 [Raster]
16. Oddhoody – The Deep [Electronic Tapes]
17. Merrin Karras – Void [A Strangely Isolated Place]
18. Pev & Kowton – Junked [Hessle Audio]
19. Davis – Plenitude [Live at Robert Johnson]
20. Ozel AB – Positronic Dreams [Workshop]
21. OOBE – Crush Mind [Blueberry]
22. Courser – Distances [Electronic Emergencies]
23. James Zabiela – Vines [Balance / Born Electric]
24. AAAA – Jazz D [Omnidisc]
25. ARCHITECTURAL – Cubismo 8.2 (Lost in Buenos Aires I) [Architectural]

1. Goldmund – Thread [Friends of Friends]
2. Earlham Mystics – Waters [Notown]
3. Steve Hauschildt – Horizon of Appearances [Kranky]
4. Radio Slave – Children of The E (KiNK SP1200 Mix) [Running Back]
5. Avalon Emerson – The Frontier (High Desert Synthapella) [Whities]
6. James Zabiela – X-Ray [Balance / Born Electric]
7. Mak & Pasteman – Pulses [Mak & Pasteman]
8. Pisetzky – Vahana [Just This]
9. Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence [Whities]
10. John Beltran – Under This Sky [Delsin]
11. Lawrence – Simmer (Lake People Remix) [Mule Musiq]
12. Solitary Dancer – Paradise Found (Rapture Version) [Graded]
13. Chambray – Cerulean [Ultramajic]
14. Silas & Snare – Memories [Brotherhood Sound System]
15. Redlight – City Jams [Hot Haus]
16. Lake People – Delusive [Mule Musiq]
17. Truncate – WRKTRX 3 [Truncate]
18. Rod – Pull (with Christina) [Klockworks]
19. Plant43 – Frozen Monarch [Frustrated Funk]
20. Sinfol – Crystalline featuring Barbara Ford [Anagram]
21. Steve Parker – Acid Planet [Planet Rhythm]
22. Fabrizio Lapiana – Far Away [Figure Jams]
23. SHDW & Obscure Shape – Augen der Nacht (Ryan James Ford Version) [From Another Mind]
24. Benjamin Damage – Montreal [R&S Records]
25. Mark Henning – Expander Six [Soma]
26. Special Request – Carex Vesicaria [Houndstooth]
27. Wata Igarashi – Lucifero [Midgar]
28. Paper Dollhouse – Crayons [MoonDome]
29. A Sagittariun – Vanishing Point [Hypercolour]
30. Anthony Linell – Fractal Vision [Northern Electronics]
31. Hans Berg – In Dreams [The Vinyl Factory]
32. Sine Sleeper – Closing [Traum Schallplatten]
33. J. Mono – Sspses [Dalmata Daniel]





Dewtone releases full back catalog of beautiful ambient and dub-techno recordings


Our good friends at Dewtone announced some bitter-sweet news recently. The deep and organic ambient and dub-techno label have put their entire Bandcamp catalog up for free (or a very low price to have it in your collection). 

The label has been quiet as of late, so it might not come as a surprise that label founder Dustin Morris has been busy planning new ventures. This gracious move to open up the back catalog, perhaps signaling a change in direction sometime in the future. Fingers crossed we see Dewtone back with even more deep and emotional ambient music. 

There's a wealth of albums to choose from, and whilst you should no doubt download every single release (not a bad one amongst them), we wanted to reflect on five standout tracks. It's a tough choice given the quality throughout the catalog, but ASIP has been supporting Dewtone from the very early years, pre-2012, so some releases have a little sentimental value attached to them. This made it slightly easier for certain tracks to stand out and pinpoint personal memories and moments as both ASIP and Dewtone evolved over the years. 

Download the catalog on Bandcamp. 

Bjorn Rohde / I Began To Float
Perhaps one of Dewtone's most ominous and sincere tracks, but Bjorn Rohde'sForgotten Hearts is a story unto itself - heartbreak and adventure. 

Purl & Deflektion / Growing
If you enjoyed Lav & Purl's A State of Becoming, there's plenty for you to dig into amongst the Dewtone catalog, with Purl featuring across several releases (as himself and some of his many other monikers) and Lav, too. But it was this beat-laden production with Olle Hallqvist (Deflektion) that really made me realize the never-ending innovative approaches ready and willing within Ludvig (Purl's) innovative mind. 

Sebastian Paul / Zen Temple
One of the later releases on the label, Sebastian Paul's album Warm Night Fall, really struck a chord with me. Perhaps it was my similarly timed visit to Japan and a chance to reflect, or maybe the extremely engrossing textures and minutiae sound design. A lesson in doing so much with so little. 

Segue / House of Cards
Dewtone also curated  a selection of compilations that included artists and labels they admired and were inspired by called, Foundations. Their second edition, 'Foundations II', featured Segue, amongst many others, and his contribution, House of Cards formed my first introduction to his works, ultimately going on to release superb solo efforts on Silent Season, such as Pacifica

Halo / Hollow City
Halo is one of those under-the-radar composers that deserves so much more attention. His Places Series EP, for example, and this album from 2012 on Dewtone. Tell me you can't hear the same delicate genius of Nils Frahm or Jon Hopkins in this track (and this album). And then remember. Pasquale, who is young now, let alone six-years ago, put this album together way before the nu-modern-classical-wave we know today. 

Listen to Dewtone founder, Dustin's exclusive ASIP mix from a few years back, featuring many other favorites in a similar style to the label.