Aleksi Perala

ASIP - The Last Frequencies (mix for Headphone Commute)

 
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One last time, tuned to nothingness,
A swan song for the remnants. 
Empty buildings, rain and the dark abyss,
Lit by neon rain and the artificial descendants. 
 


Our good friend Headphone Commute has just published a new mix of mine, titled The Last Frequencies. It's a pretty obvious concept once you listen, but sometimes these things come to me at the end rather than the beginning. I started this mix after the terrible news of Jóhann Jóhannsson's death and was left wondering what the score for Blade Runner would've or could've been at the time. Perhaps, this thought process subliminally inspired me to create something of my own. Only on hindsight did I realize.  

It took a few months to compile and I went through five different versions before finally settling here. Given how much time I spent on it, I thought I'd try to do it even more justice by adding some comments on the featured tracks below. As always, I see mixes as an amazing point of discovery here on ASIP, so want to do everything to support the artists featured within. 

Make sure you check out the rest of Headphone Commute's guest mixes - the last one by 36, for example, and a recent epic journey by Roel Funcken - just two that shouldn't be missed. 

And thanks to HC for hosting me on his great platform for music discovery - our partner in the ever-expanding conquest to highlight the best ambient music out in the world. 

Read more on Headphone Commute.  

Listen on Soundcloud

Direct download

Tracklist + track notes:

01. Computer Afterlife - (Various samples) [Self released]

This album is the perfect entry point to Vaporwave (shudder?). If you haven't already been digging around the recent phenomenon that's rife on Bandcamp. 'Infinity Frequencies' is like a compilation of retro advertisements and elevator music, all put through the Vaporwave machine. On its own, the album is an interesting listen as opposed to a relaxed experience, but I chose to edit several of the tracks and combine with TV static to give the effect of someone/something searching through frequencies. It also inspired the name of the mix, as the journey goes on to dictate the dystopian world before the last frequency is heard. Available on Bandcamp.

02. Rashida Prime - {modular frame} [Cyber Dream Records]

Continuing the Vaporwave-wave, there's a side to this style that I really love, and Rashida Prime is a good example. To many, this is just heavily textured and processed drone music. But in a similar vein to the likes of Rafael Anton Irisarri, Rashida manages to score a beautiful melody amongst all the noise and static. I also added a little monologue from Blade Runner here to set the scene. Rashida Prime's album, Damaged Interface, is also available on Bludhoney - perhaps one of the most influential Vaporwave labels out there should you want to dig deep. Available on Bandcamp

03. Innerst Inne - Solen Träffar Topparna Först (Further Records)

Innerst Inne are Andreas Tilliander and Johan T Karlsson and this, I believe, is their first outing together - on Further Records, no less. Hailing from Scandinavia, with the album made in Sweden, it'd be silly to think inspiration hasn't been drawn from the cold depths, or the ever-growing techno scene that seems to influence everything that comes out of this part of the world right now. This album contains it all though - murky, deep ambience alongside some beautiful analog synthesizer moments, rooted in archaic dissonance. Fans of Alessandro Cortini, Isorinne, Rashad Becker, rejoice. Available on Bandcamp

04. Merrin Karras - 47 Drawn [Unreleased]

Some exciting music in the near future from Merrin Karras. For now... 

05. Steve Moore - Aphellion [Spectrum Spools]

I think I've included a Steve Moore track in nearly every mix I've put together in the past few years. He's a master of manipulation and does an amazing job at portraying new, futuristic places. This album, Pangaea Ultima does just that, and depicts a vision of a new world "away from the standards of time that we have insisted upon giving it". Available on Bandcamp. 

06. 輕描淡寫 - 我昨晚梦见你了 [Bludhoney Records]

Back into Vaporwave again, but I bet you didn't know it... This is where the genre crosses over with many other ambient styles, with the introduction of a piano blurring the lines. Still, the ominous sound of dystopian rain-soaked city streets is still present. Available on Bandcamp. 

07. Swoop & Cross - St. No [Time Released Sound]

A beautifully packaged vinyl by the aesthetic-forward label Time Released Sound, Swoop & Cross create a delicate and unmissable album in every way. I enjoyed the harmonious shift from the previous melody into the similar piano melody here - like the rainy, neon-lit streets emerging out of the dark into the daylight. Available on Bandcamp.  

08. Aleksi Perälä - UK74R1406060 [DUB]

Aleksi's music is often electro/techno-forward and normally wouldn't fit into this set (unless I took a turn into much heavier stuff), but this track features a stripped-back underlying analog tone that shifted the mood of the mix from a quaint piano melody into something a little more ominous. Aleksi's Colundi Sequence albums are pioneering in their approach, and you'll no-doubt find something mesmerizing amongst the many editions out there right now - even if you can't decipher the track names. He's a modern-day Aphex Twin in many ways. Available on Bandcamp

09. Isorinne - Whereabouts Unknown [Field Records]

This track features a bunch of abstract sounds and samples at the beginning, which is a little out out of the ordinary for the normally icy-smooth ambient stylings of Isorinne. The album this track is lifted off is from 2016, so if you've enjoyed Isorinne's recent brilliance on Northern Electronics, take a dig back into his earlier works for a little variety. Whereabouts Unknown gave the impression of something changing - a bustle and commotion - that led into the warmer tones of RAI.  Available on Bandcamp.

10. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Two and a Half Minutes (Geographic North)

Rafael continues to surpass expectations with his very purposeful "active-listening" ambient aesthetic. This is just one of many great tracks that have recently seen the light through two tape releases - one on Geographic North titled Midnight Colors and another, Sirimiri on Umor Rex. I felt bad keeping the inclusion of this track pretty short, but in a similar belief to RAI himself; less is more. Hope he agrees here! Available on Bandcamp.

11. 36 - Further Room 4 [A Strangely Isolated Place] + Alva Noto - Xerrox Monophaser 2 [Raster Noton]

For those that purchased 36's album, Infinity Room, you likely received a hidden surprise (that many still to this day might not know about). A full EP titled Further Rooms, accessed via a password-protected page hidden in the vinyl etching. Many say it's as good as the main album, evident here with Further Room 4. Again, not one to purposefully blemish an already good track, I originally had Alva Noto's infamous Xerrox Monophaser 2 at a very low level in the background to add some additional depth to the mix, but brought it up a little more as it seemed to fit well with the overall lost-in-space vibe Dennis' track was painting. Further Rooms still lies hidden for those that want to hunt it down... but Alva Noto's classic album is available in all good stores / Alva Noto website

12. Markus Guentner - New World Order  [A Strangely Isolated Place] + Global Communication - 0.54

For those that are taking the time to read this, then let this be your official notice - our next release on ASIP will see the return of Markus Guentner. More on that to come, but to continue this idea of lost and dying frequencies in the mix, Global Communication's now infamous intermission from their legendary ambient album 76.14, came to mind, and fitted perfectly with Markus's track. Like floating out into the dark void... 

13. The National Pool - Brick Cloud-Area 2 [Infraction]

I've already gushed about this album on ASIP, so head on over here to read more. Available on Bandcamp

14. Christoph De Babalon - Brilliance [DHR]

Hype hype hype. This album did receive. And it's a hard listen overall, but this Gas-esque track is one of the better from the album that will strike a chord with us ambient fans. The rest of the album however, is mainly very hard techno-edged-drum'n bass. You have been warned (or encouraged). Good luck hunting it down again, after a recent repress. 

15. Biosphere - Hyperborea [Biophon Records]

No-one depicts being lost in space, as sounds from far off worlds echo in the distance, better than Biosphere. All mixes should consider a 'classic' moment within the track list, and this one does the job for me. At this point in the mix, I had pictured a person floating through the void with his/her communication struggling to grasp the last few sounds from the world they just departed. Or is it the world they're floating towards? Available on Bandcamp

16. The Black Dog - Part One [Self released]

Dig anywhere amongst The Black Dog's extensive catalog and you'll find some beauty hidden amongst the darkest depths of techno. This self-released EP was the last time they got to work with good friend, Shawn Bloodworth - a fittingly beautiful tribute. Available on Bandcamp. 

17. Dino Sabatini - And It All Ends Here (feat. Antonello Salis) [Outis Music] 

I initially had the mix ending up in waves of static - a more literal homage to the title and concept of the mix. But this track by Dino Sabatini paid homage to a dystopian future in a different way - like an 80's film closing credits. Slightly Vangelis in style. An apt title too, from a stunning album. Available on Bandcamp.

Check back here soon for links to download the mix. 

~

Artwork edited by me; Ryan Griffin, featuring photography by Karen Sayser, Keith Camilleri & Sandeep Swarnkar. 

 

 

ASIP - Reflection on 2017

 
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2017 was undoubtedly a year for many of us turning to a softer, more comforting style of music to help heal and escape the real world. Many of you reading this probably use the type of music covered here on ASIP as a remedy and form of escapism, and some may just be getting acquainted. Now more than ever, I feel like people are connecting with ambient music, and I see it in the comments, feedback, support and thoughts that accompany each release, friends releases, mixes etc, and and in the growing popularity of the genre in the wider-music spectrum. 

We’ve managed to present three vinyl releases this year, and I'm extremely proud of each one. Starting with the organic calming of Lav & Purl'sA State Of Becoming; we then went denser and deeper with Leandro Fresco & Rafael Anton Irisarri'sLa Equidistancia. In August, Arovane & Hior Chronik returned for their second album, Into my own. And in the middle of all of this, we experienced the worst possible outcome with our vinyl production (as did many others), but that was put into balance with your amazing support and kind donations for La Espera; the companion EP by Leandro and Rafael, which helped raise funds and get us back on track to continue with a new press (more to come on that one soon, along with news on the vinyl for La Equidistancia).

We're already looking forward to 2018's releases, with the announcement of Christian Kleine's upcoming album in January. But before we get ahead of ourselves, it's time to look back at all the music that kept the inspiration high and the mind elsewhere over the last year...

Here's a breathless-quick rundown on what’s included...

~

Young composer, Sophia Jani opens up our mix; Kai Schumacher reimagines a Moderat favorite; and South Africa's Jason Van Wyk finds the magical atmospheric piano balance on his Home Normal release. Leandro Fresco pairs up with Kompakt companion Thore Pfeiffer (who also just dropped a new album with Max Wurden); whilst Warmth is back on the year-end list with another pure blanket of warm ambience. I watched Earthen Sea play live in a church this year, and his Silent Season anniversary release was one of the best of a brilliant bunch from the label. ASC strayed away from his Silent Season ambient home to put out a deep-cut on his own label Auxiliary. The powerful, heart-pulls of Black Swan, 36 and Secret Pyramid were some of my favorite tear-jerkers of the year, whilst Rafael Anton Irisarri's political masterpiece on Umor Rex took our emotions to the next level. Noveller moved to LA recently, which might've  inspired one of my favorites of hers in a long time. Ryuichi Sakamoto returned with a twisted and interesting set of compositions, whilst PAN released an intriguing dig through relatively new and unheard ambient artists on their highly regarded compilation, Mono No Aware. Field Records and Acronym are no strangers to us individually, but their combined output was undoubtedly one of this years best pieces of ambient music. The one sweeping piece of ambient from nthng’s original and innovative techno record makes the cut, triggering some deepness from Luigi Tozzi in a rare ambient remix- a break from his bubbling techno on the high-flying Hypnus label. Wanderwelle landed strong with one of the most innovative dub-techno records we've heard in a very long time, whilst my fandom for Alexsi Perälä went up a notch, via his relentless Colundi Sequence compositions. We get deeper with Primal Code (Hypnus with another great release) and then Artefakt pull out the swirling, progressive techno-stomp and another must-own album. Joachim Spieth finally unveils a full-length album spanning ambient and techno- one of the only people who could strike this balance so well. Loess is another big return for 2017 with their signature deep and unique glitches, and Purl continues his many guises with one of this years most original pieces under his Illuvia moniker. Speaking of originality, no-one comes close to the bvdub style, but again he manages to surprise and delight. Loscil pairs with Mark Bridges as High Plains in their brooding instrumental piece, which is followed by our very own modern-classical prodigy Hior Chronik and his debut album on 7K!. Ghostly's, Christoper Willits scores a film on The Art Of Listening with some beautiful textures and Leyland Kirby scored a lifetime of mental degradation this year with his Caretaker series, but chose to release some of his best stuff for free. Hammock and Billow Observatory were once again on point to soothe with their dreamy lulls and enchanting melodies. The Thesis Project continued to present unique collaborations with Anna Rose Carter and Dag Rosenqvist just one of the many standouts from the series. The Susumu Yokota stylings of Poppy Ackroyd, are followed by the now legendary sounds of Four Tet. And with one of my most anticipated returns in a while, The Gentleman Losers begin to end proceedings with their Air/Bibio/Quiet Village dreaminess. And finally, the curtain closer coming from the biggest return of the year, Slowdive.

~

Despite a hefty 36 tracks, and 2hr 42mins total,  I've still left-out a bunch of my favorite releases of the year from this mix. But, I let the flow of the mix dictate what is included whilst pulling from my whittled-down playlist from the past year. It's restrictive whilst also liberating doing it this way, as putting together lists is a near impossible task for me. This method forces my hand, whilst also presenting something a little different to the normal year-end lists. 

To all those artists I’ve missed out, keep doing what you’re doing, we’re still listening. If you need to see more of the music I've been enjoying, well, this blog is of course a good place to start, as well as everything I've purchased and supported on Bandcamp, shown in my Fan Collection (go Bandcamp!).

Thank you to all the artists and labels featured, and a big thank you to everyone for continuing to support ASIP this year, buy our records and listen to the music featured on the blog and the label.  Next year will be ten years since the very first ASIP blog post, so we’ll be celebrating with some very special projects.

Until then, enjoy a look back at 2017...

Download
Stream tracklist (Spotify/Apple Music). (Not all tracks included)

Tracklist [label & link to buy] (ASIP links) rough start time.

01. Sophia Jani - Those Who Stay [Unreleased / Soundcloud] 00.00>
02. Kai Schumacher - A New Error [Neue Meister] 04.04>
03. Jason Van Wyk - Clouds [Home Normal] (Review) 07.55>
04. Fresco & Pfeiffer - Splinter [Kompakt] (Review) 10.16>
05. Warmth - Isolation [Archives] (isolatedmix) 14.00>
06. Earthen Sea - The Time Past [Silent Season] 17.50>
07. ASC - Quaoar [Auxiliary] (ASC isolatedmix) (Review) 22.22>
08. Black Swan - The Escapist [Self] 27.06>
09. Secret Pyramid - Two Shadows [Ba Da Bing!] (isolatedmix) 30.48>
10. 36 - Black Soma [Self] (artist page) (isolatedmix) 34.30>
11. Rafael Anton Irisarri - RH Negative [Umor Rex] (artist page) 39.34>
12. Noveller - The Unveiling [Fire Records] 43.40>
13. Ryuichi Sakamoto - honj [Milan Records] 46.30>
14. Malibu - Held [PAN] 48.30>
15. Acronym - The Final Decision [Field Records] (Review) 49.32>
16. nthng - Touches [Lobster Theremin] 55.34>
17. Luigi Tozzi - Yavin (Ambient remix) [Hypnus] 60.42>
18. Wanderwelle - The Starry Night [Silent Season] (isolatedmix) 63.28>
19. Aleksi Perälä - NLL561606935 [Clone Basement Series] 68.36>
20. Primal Code - Junkan [Hypnus] 71.47>
21. Artefakt - Entering The City [Delsin] 77.58>
22. Joachim Spieth - Radiance [Affin] (isolatedmix) 88.17>
23. Loess - Wrikken [n5MD] (Review) (isolatedmix) 94.02>
24. Illuvia - Illuvia (Exaltation) [Eternell] (Review) 99.00>
25. bvdub - Limitless [n5MD] (interview) (isolatedmix) 108.18>
26. High Plains - Ten Sleep [Kranky] (isolatedmix) 113.42>
27. Hior Chronik - That Mistery Again [7K!] (artist page) (isolatedmix) 116.30>
28. Christopher Willits - Beginning [Ghostly] 118.52>
29. Leyland Kirby - Dig Deep March On [History Always Favours The Winners] 122.12>
30. Hammock - Dust Swirling Into Your Shape [Hammock music] 127.04>
31. Billow Observatory - Montclair [Azure Vista] (Review) (isolatedmix) 130.00>
32. Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist - Nothing Ever [Thesis] (Feature) 133.26>
33. Poppy Ackroyd - The Calm Before [One Little Indian] 137.50>
34. Four Tet - You Are Loved [Text Records] 143.38>
35. The Gentleman Losers - Holding Back The Night [Grainy Records] 149.30>
36. Slowdive - Falling Ashes [Dead Oceans] 154.24>