Full Circle (ASIPV00X) Update on charity donation

 
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We’re happy to announce we just made our first donation to The Harmony Project Los Angeles, as a result of our Full Circle Anniversary compilation.

The record has so far profited $846.88, which we have rounded up to $1000.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the record.

If you haven’t had the chance to listen or buy, head over to Bandcamp.

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isolatedmix 90 - Hotel Neon

 
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After the last brilliant, eclectic and proggy isolatedmix by Steve Moore, we’ve secretly been longing for a deeper more serene story to bring our senses full circle. With releases on introspective labels such as Archives, and Fluid Audio the next mix, comes from Michael Tasselmyer, Andrew Tasselmyer, and Steven Kemner, known to many of us as Hotel Neon.

The Philadelphia based trio’s sound has previously been expertly described as, “at once epic and incredibly intimate”; “as icy as it is graceful"; and “enveloping atmosphere and sonic density”, but I would try and simplify (or complicate) it as sitting at the crossroads of a spectrum of ambient styles we admire. Coincidentally, given the number of band members, a Venn Diagram of Hotel Neon would likely see them exist within the sweet spot of classical/soundtrack, drone and more tactfully styled field recordings. Their combination of the three create deep churning and bellowing auras to get truly lost within.

The desired effect is as much lean-in, as it is to observe or wander amongst, with intricacies that only become apparent in certain situations, or instruments that take several listens to identify. They’ve become an apt soundtrack for deep sleep, and have an observable tangible approach well-deserved of live performances within more epic spaces such cathedrals. But as their name may suggest, and as the theme of the mix is revealed, Hotel Neon’s music comes into its own when you’re caught wandering at night - in what we like to imagine - is your own, strangely isolated place…

Will Long’s (Celer) recent new album really blew us away, and we got to thinking about the imagery that a track title like “Rains lit by neon” can stir up: late-night ruminations in a quiet hotel room, high above streets full of strangers lit by neon. Obviously, we can connect to the “neon” aspect...but in all seriousness, there’s something undeniably compelling about the effect of a lonely nocturnal setting on one’s state of mind, and the depth of introspection it can generate. These are tracks with wistful, mysterious, and provocative character to facilitate one’s nighttime reminiscing. - Andrew (Hotel Neon)

Hotel Neon are currently busy preparing for an EU/UK tour alongside masters of the art, Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott this September (see here) and preparing a charity compilation album in collaboration with Robert Macfarlane called "Place Language." The compilation features 29 artists from around the world including Hammock, Taylor Deupree, Lawrence English and many more. Set to be released through Fluid Audio in September, the compilation will be available in a custom letter-pressed booklet, and all profits will benefit the War Child charity to provide aid to children displaced by war and conflict.

Download

Tracklist:

01. ana roxanne - “Nocturne” (~~~) Buy on Bandcamp 
02. Benoît Pioulard & Sean Curtis Patrick - “Zenava” (Avocationals) Buy on Bandcamp
03. Lusine - “Jetstream” (Language Barrier) Buy on Bandcamp
04. Earthen Sea - “Existing Closer Or Deeper In Space” (Grass And Trees) Buy on Bandcamp
05. Kate Carr - “Contact” (Contact) Buy on Bandcamp
06. Celer - “(06.23.17) from the doorway of the beef noodle shop, shoes on the street in the rain, outside the karate school” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
07. Celer - “Rains lit by neon” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
08. anthéne - “Cyprus” (Lost Channel) Buy on Bandcamp
09. Brian McBride - “At A Loss” (Air Texture Volume II) Buy on Bandcamp
10. Sofie Birch - “Begin Sync End” (Planetes) Buy on Bandcamp
11. Jana Winderen - “Drift” (Surface Runoff) Buy on Bandcamp
12. Mount Shrine - “Forbidden Air, Pt. 2” (Homeless Rooms) Buy on Bandcamp
13. Rafael Anton Irisarri - “Falling Curtain” (Midnight Colors) Buy on Bandcamp

Artwork photo by Andrew Tasselmyer, “taken in Shanghai, China in early 2016 while wandering alone at night by the Huangpu River downtown, bleary-eyed and nostalgic”.

~

Hotel Neon | Website | Bandcamp | Discogs | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook 

 

Now available Max Würden / Format

 

I’ve been a fan of Max Würden’s for a long time now, and he’s pretty much the most consistent contributor to Kompakt’s Pop Ambient Series over the years and one I look forward to hearing the most. No wonder, Max is a talented and skilled producer who finds joy in the details with his own meticulous and unique approach to music. This album is a classic to my own ears, echoing early chill-out era alongside the likes of more epic space-inspired ambient music such as Biosphere and Alva Noto - Format has got a bit of everything.

Format draws from its Latin origin: “formatus”, meaning “to be formed”. Over two years, Germany’s Max Würden produced a variety of tracks using completely different approaches. It wasn’t until they were placed together in unison that the strengths from the variety of productions came together.

Max’s studio recordings lined up alongside live performances; field recordings of foot-steps and sounds from deep forests amongst broken leaves and custom synthesizers; processed guitar-loops weave amongst soaring ambient pads and energetic driving analog pulses segue classic 90’s ambient depicting the very furthest reaches of space. Max's abstract impressions were weaved together and Format was born.

The result captures the very best of Max’s multi-disciplinary techniques we’ve come to admire throughout his many productions and collaborations over the years with the likes of Thore Pfeiffer and his releases on Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series.

Format can be enjoyed as individual tracks, one mixed journey (digital) or as unique mixed-edits for vinyl. Featuring artwork by Noah M / Keep Adding, who unfolds the track’s unique individual elements from the front into one expansive inside gatefold. Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri @ Black Knoll Studio.

View the release page for more information and links to buy.

 

isolatedmix 89 - Steve Moore

 
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Over the past ten-or-so years Steve Moore has increasingly impressed circles outside of his association with prog-rock band Zombi. In fact, I’m probably one of the very few people that discovered Steve without knowledge of his association with one of America’s most revered bands, which adds further intrigue to his euphoric synthesizer work under his own name. I think I’ve included one of his tracks in 90% of the mixes I’ve put together (on hindsight) but that speaks to how perfectly apt I find his music in setting moods, places and spaces. Along with this superb new isolatedmix to follow below, I had the chance to send a few questions Steve Moore’s way…

My first introduction to Steve’s solo work was his 2012 release ‘Light Echoes’, quickly followed by picking upBrainstorm’- a split 12” with Majeure, (found in Tokyo’s Big Love Record Store by memory). Between both of these albums I caught a glimpse of the sublime ambient-leaning synthesizer work and the more colorful and energetic influences of the 80’s.

“I’ve been writing and recording music on my own since the early 90’s. Back then I had a Fostex 4 track cassette recorder and an Ensoniq VFX-SD. I’d share some of this music with friends but mostly I was just doing it for fun and practice. Zombi gave me the confidence and the connections to release my music”

It’s easy to start making associations to some of the early synthesizer pioneers with Steve’s work you hear today, especially on records like 2010’s Primitive Neural Pathways, which I managed to pick up a copy of just last week. It’s like a modern-day polished Jean-Michel Jarre record, pressed on a neon-Pink slab of vinyl (Pink must be a favorite color as his new one is also available in Pink)

I love those first few Jarre records so much, with Primitive Neural Pathways I definitely wanted to write something in that style. But that’s how I used to think when writing, in terms of who I wanted to reference and what time period, etc. Now I’m more interested in trying to do something new or different. I’m more into experimenting.

Experimentation is definitely apparent in Steve’s new album for Temporary Residence. With Beloved Exile, Moore states his goal was to “make an album of songs that featured instruments other than synthesizers - and instrumentalists other than myself. I wanted to create situations in which I thought Emel’s voice and Mary’s harp would sound interesting”.

Mary Lattimore (Ghostly International) features prominently and after several listens of the album in full, her grace is felt in such a natural and organic way it’s hard to believe a synthesizer and harpist could create something so classic and timeless across an entire record, not just a feature on one individual track.

Even the track titles of Beloved Exile have been sub-let to add further experimentation, input, and ultimately, subjectivity to the album meaning. (Personally, I feel like album opener, ‘Your Sentries Will Be Met With Force’ is one of the greatest opening track titles for an album like this featuring an onslaught of synthesizers and harp).

The story is what you want it to be! John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats) was kind enough to supply the song titles. Song titles never come naturally to me, so I thought “who do I know who has a way with words?” I asked John and he said yes, so I sent him the tunes and he titled them. What these titles mean is up to the listener!

Beloved Exile is no doubt an evolution in sound from some his previous work if you’re a Moore collector, combining perhaps the trifecta of his influences - synthesizers, soundtrack and instrumental elements, but it’s still unmistakably narrated by someone who understands storytelling. Asked about this evolution, Steve seems to be progressing his sound organically: “I do feel pressure to do something new and interesting with each album, but that’s all coming from me. I put that pressure on myself. As far as evolving, I just let that happen. I feel like when artists try to evolve things can end up sounding forced. As I get older my influences and interests are gradually changing and so it seems natural that my music should as well.”

The insight and experience from scoring these cult horror flicks adds to the vivid narration that occurs amongst his synthesizer work too, with the last track on Beloved Exile spanning a mammoth fifteen minutes. As the album closer, My Time Among The Snake Lords is a fine example of the narration Steve can inject into a piece of music. If the track title alone didn’t paint the picture ahead, Steve’s progression and storied approach helps end the album on one of his most euphoric pieces yet - a combination of marching tribal elements, the distant plucks of Mary’s harp and a soaring expansive outro.

Asked about his work on cult-horror films such as The Minds Eye, Cub and Mayhem, I wanted to find out what it takes to make a good horror score:

It takes both a good composer and a good director to create a good film score. Also good producers! It’s a collaborative process. I think a sense of pacing and dynamics is very important. Also space - knowing when not to add music. Sometimes silence is way scarier than music.

Along with the crack team, I can’t help but imagine Steve has a secret sauce hidden somewhere amongst his synthesizer arsenal, and as it turns out, he has a banker for those scary moments and a dependable sound to help keep things on the edge: “My Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and Pro One definitely have the scariest sounds. I use them on almost every score - they’re great for atmospherics and those Carpenter-style stingers”.

For Steve’s isolatedmix, we’re treated to a slightly new and original style of music across the twelve tracks, straddling the split personality between prog rock and ambient music. Steve admits he has no idea where a mix will end up once he starts, with this one being put together on the fly:

I start with a track that’s been on my mind then sort through my library and add songs as the mix plays. When I start a mix I don’t know where it will go, but I try to include artists from seemingly incompatible genres and different corners of the globe. For this mix I started with “Heavy Light” by Animusic. Zombi just played a couple shows so I’ve been rehearsing for those lately, and this track always comes to mind when I think of Zombi. It’s a big inspiration and you should definitely check out the video on YouTube.

Along with Animusic we’re excited to finally feature Enya within an isolatedmix, and it seems as though we share a mutual appreciation for the Irish-Castle-Queen. One of the finest soundtrack producers, Mark Isham, also makes an appearance; a big inspiration for Steve’s soundtrack on The Hitcher, listed alongside musicians like, Brad Fiedel, Howard Shore, John Carpenter (and Alan Howarth), Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh as other similarly inspiring composers and influences.

There’s a kindness to Enya’s music that really appeals to me. It’s magical and otherworldly and completely sincere. And from a production standpoint the albums are total ear candy (especially the early albums where she’s using a lot of Juno-60). She’s incredibly talented.

To quote the label when they sent over the final mix, “This may be the proggiest isolatedmix yet”, so sit back and absorb yourself amongst the mind of a man who is as comfortable scaring the hell out of people in cinemas, as he is performing in front of thousands, and then casually creating some of the finest synthesizer music this side of the Millennium. Listen on Soundcloud, or Mixcloud below.

Steve Moore’s Beloved Exile is out now on Temporary Residence.

Download.

01. Animusic - “Heavy Light”
02. Return to Forever - “Medieval Overture”
03. Arsen Gedik - “Neptune”
04. Patrick O’Hearn - “At First Light”
05. Christian Chevalier & Alan Feanch - “Electric Mistress”
06. Constance Demby - “Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate Pt 3 [edit]”
07. Enya - “Deireadh An Tuath”
08. Mark Isham - “Dust and Gasoline”
09. Enslaved - “793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne)”
10. Johanna D’Armagnac - “Siren of the Sea”
11. Goblin - “Le Cascate Di Virdiana”
12. Il Baletto di Bronzo - “Epilogo”

Steve Moore | Bandcamp | Twitter | Discogs

 

Celer - Xièxie

 
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Celer’s latest album, Xièxie, is a daunting undertaking at first glance. Not only does it read like a travel diary, but in-between the ten-plus minute tracks are interludes, sound recordings that narrate the beautiful textures that bookend each glimpse into Will Long’s trip to China.

It’s a tale of juxtaposing sounds that come together as a sublime narrative of travel. Field recordings form intros - instead of becoming part of the main tracks (as you’d likely expect from an album like this) - but thats the point. Upon each moment of significance, Will takes you elsewhere, painting a glimpse of voyeurism and scattered, slow motion activity. Drawn-out loops of dreams from a window turn into water paintings and a pensive, dystopian backdrop.

Everything moves faster than we can control. Days are just flashes, moments are mixed up but burned on film, and all of the places and times are out of order.

Simple and refined, this will become my perfect recommendation for anyone looking for the sharp point of emotive ambient music - it’s all here: narrative, escapism, texture, story and reflection. One to get lost in.

Available on Bandcamp in digital and vinyl editions.