ASIP - Reflection on 2016


2016 was a busy year! The label started with the Arovane & Hior Chronik Remix EP, then Merrin Karras' glorious synthesizer piece, Apex. And more recently, the much-desired 36 album, The Infinity Room.  It was also a very sad year in many ways, with ASIP artist, Igor Bystrov aka Parks, passing away. The In Memory EP, featuring a collection of his works was also released, with all proceeds going to Igor's family. Thank you to everyone who supported the label and the artists throughout 2016 - I can't express how grateful I am to have such an amazing bunch of listeners and supporters.

It was an amazing year for music. I was overwhelmed for the most part, and didn't get round to writing about half as many albums as I would have liked to. But my yearly Reflections mix goes some way in helping soothe my guilt and pain. Featuring many of my favorite tracks from some of my favorite albums and releases from the year, it's my version of the infamous journo 'best-of' list but presented in the best way possible I start with a playlist including one track from every album I've enjoyed over the year, and then whittle it down, based on what sounds right in the mix and ultimately, what I've been listening to the most. It goes without saying, this only scrapes the surface of the many great albums and releases we've been treated to in 2016.

A quick run down of the inclusions in this years mix...

Sad Elron, the one track I spent the year looping, was the standout in one of this years best albums from Mark Pritchard. Bvdub surprised us with a selection of shorter-than-normal cuts, and potentially his best album yet. The Green Kingdom is this years under-the-radar gem, cutting up dubby-ambient and post-rock. Steve Hauschildt topped the year of the synthesizer, as did Phaeleh, with outstanding albums on both fronts. ASC made a sneaky retro-electronica appearance as Comit. Synkro enlisted the best for his remix EP - with Helios providing a glorious take, alongside a superb album of his own. Jesse Somfay returned after over 5-years with a unique and exciting new album. Segue turned in da-dub as usual on the ever-brilliant Silent Season. Isan made a return with their quirky melodic electronica. The Orb made an attempt to out-chill-out the Chill Out. Ametsub dropped a sneaky jazz-infused ambient piece. Tangent proved the newcomer of the year on n5MD. Jóhann Jóhannsson should be on the front-cover of Time magazine as man of the year with his outstanding score for Arrival and another complete masterpiece in Orphée. Heck got the remastering and reworking of choice by Field Rotation's Christopher Berg. Ocoeur got our year off to a stunner with his modern-classical masterpiece. Eluvium won the hearts of everyone with his operatic tearjerker. Drape kept Infraction's continually brilliant ambient output up-to-scratch. Warmth treated us to one of the years best ambient surprises. Deepchord turned in one of the years best remixes - out-ambienting Wolgang Voigt's flip. Benoit Pioulard broke his wrist and showed us how to remix Aphex Twin. Porya Hatami and Arovane joined forces once again book-ending their ASIP remix EP.  And lastly, as a special tribute, we end the mix on one of my favourite tracks by Park from 2009 - RIP.

And breathe. Enjoy the look back.



01. Mark Pritchard - Sad Alron [Under The Sun] (Warp)
02. Bvdub - 07 [Yours Are Stories Of Sadness] (Self)Read the review
03. The Green Kingdom - Haze Layers [Harbor] (Dronarivm) 
04. Steve Hauschildt - Time We Have [Strands] (Kranky) Read the review
05. Phaeleh - Frequency [Illusion of The Tale] (Undertow) Read the review
06. Comit - Under Your Spell [Trip 01] (Warm Communications) Read the review
07. Synkro - Midnight Sun (Helios Remix) [Changes Remix EP] (Apollo)
08. Jesse Somfay - Chorona (A Voice Like Sunshine) [Levamentum] (Tipping HandRead the review
09. Segue - Deep Valley [Over The Mountains] (Silent Season
10. Isan - Lace Murex [Glass Bird Movement] (MorrRead the review
11. The Orb - 4am Exhale [COW] (Kompakt)
12. Ametsub - Skydroppin' [Skydroppin' EP] (Blueberry Records)
13. Tangent - Perceived Horizon [Collapsing Horizons] (n5MD)
14. Jóhann Jóhannsson - Heptapod B [Arrival OST] (Deutschegrammophon)
15. Hecq - Night Falls (reworked by Christopher Berg) [Night Falls] (Hymen Records)
16. Ocoeur - Fixo 2 [Reversed] (n5MD) Read the review
17. Eluvium - Fugue State [False Readings On] (Temporary ResidenceRead the review / mix
18. Drape - Detrial Rest [Let There Water Air] (Infraction)
19. Helios - Land Father [Remembrance] (Unseen Music) Read the review
20. Warmth - Odessa [Essay] (Archives) Read the review / mix 
21. Peter Michael Hamel - Colours of Time [Reinterpreted] (Deepchord’s Carolina Forest Mix) Read the review
22. Benoit Pioulard - Stone In Focus [Radial] Read the review / mix
23. Porya Hatami & Arovane - iaan [Kaziwa] (Time Released Sound
24. Jóhann Jóhannsson - Flight From The City [Orphée] (Deutschegrammophon) Read the review
25. Parks - Eternal Wind [Hidden] (Infraction - 2009)

[Artwork / photo taken on a trip to Japan in August 2016]


Serein Presents: Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains Vol. 1


Known for bringing us releases by Brambles, Nest and even Hauschka in previous years, the UK label, Serein features a refined output so far, with many of its releases reaching notoriety in the modern-classical side of the ambient world. It's been a notably quiet 2016 for them, but now we know why. 

A new compilation titled Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains, the first in a new series, is billed as your new musical travel companion, presenting work by some of the "finest musical tour guides in the known universe". A quick look at the track list and you'd be hard-pushed to disagree.

Label veterans Brambles, Otto A Totland and Hidden Rivers make an appearance (the latter two forming the duo, Nest) alongside some new label imports in Benoît Pioulard, (listen to his isolatedmix), Silent Season regular Segue, Japan's finest in Ametsub (listen to his isolatedmix), and Dan Abrams, otherwise known as Shuttle 358

The music is as prestigious as you'd hoped given the expertise at hand. Some of the many highlights include Hidden Rivers superb glistening piece of electronica, What's Up G?;  to textured ambient from Donato Wharton and Pioulard; and the label's bread-and-butter modern classical from piano master-mind Otto A Totland. There's also a progression in the enigmatic sound of Brambles, who provides a modern-sounding cinematic score in Petrichor, as does The Balustrade Ensemble, albeit in a more experimental style. 

With Gas like textures and a lull of guitar plucks, offset by a simple piano, Dan Abrams' (Shuttle 358's) track Floating City, is more akin to a Pop Ambient masterpiece than anything you might have heard from him before. Certainly one of the highlights of the compilation and available to stream in full below.

Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains straddles the worlds and styles many of us love, fulfilling its goal of escapism - something I can definitely relate to with regards to the concept of ASIP.  Serein is best known for it's beautiful modern-classical output, yet this compilation seamlessly blends the attentiveness, delicacy and emotion of instrumental pieces, with a progressive electronic sound sprinkled throughout. Without a single weak track throughout, it turns a conventional modern-classical compilation into an accessible and thoroughly enjoyable piece for anyone looking to tune out. Window watch, pay attention to the soft black and white keys, creaking pedals, electronic undertones, field recordings and thought-provoking melodies and say hello to your new travel companion.

Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains will be available August 19th, on Download, CD, Double Vinyl and Limited Screen Print Edition here. There's also a lovely interactive site to explore the music at hand.

Lastly, Serein has been kind enough to offer ASIP readers an exclusive Bandcamp discount. Use "SERASIP15" on checkout for a 15% discount on this release and anything else in the Serein catalogue.

01. Otto A Totland - Selon
02. Brambles - Petrichor
03. Ametsub - Blue Loop
04. Hidden Rivers - What's Up G?
05. Dan Abrams - Floating City
06. Imprints - Roy
07. Benoît Pioulard - Alogia
08. Strië - 87 Billion Suns
09. Otto A Totland - Storfjord
10. Colorlist - Gone To Ground
11. The Balustrade Ensemble - Teeming
12. Donato Wharton - A Lightless Volume Of Water
13. Yui Onodera & Chihei Hatakeyama - Solaris
14. Segue - Frozen
15. The Inventors Of Aircraft - No Returns
16. Olan Mill ft Isnaj Dui - Zazen


"Music of artists that intoxicate and evoke a pure emotional response from me and influence my OKADA compositions. Most of these artists I've been listening to a long time. In fact, one of the artists on this mix, World's End Girlfriend, is the reason why my music is in long-form, which I first started to do on the album Anathema under the name ZXYZXY" - OKADA.

1. Julianna Barwick - One Half
An artist with strong vocal composition skills. Someone I'd like to borrow for my own compositions, to be honest.

2. 2 8 1 4 - 真実の恋
Two-artist effort that have pierced the veil of vaporwave; hurling it far into the daydream atmosphere.

3. Ametsub - Faint Dazzlings
Japanese electronic music at its finest. Yes, there is a sound unique all to Japan and its electronic music scene. I'd say this is a great example.

4. Bersarin Quartett - Bedingungslos
No one does it like BM. The guy is eons away from everyone when it comes to pure beauty in music. Any of his songs could fit here.

5. Ex Confusion - Speak Softly in My Dreams
One of my favorite n5MD artists. Any of his songs could fit here as well.

6. Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm - a1
Need no introduction here. Just a fantastic collaboration.

7. OKADA - Reconciliation
While I probably should have picked something off my new record, it just wasn't the type of mix I wanted to make. One of my personal favorites, and I plan to bring this style of composition back in the future.

8. MONO & World's End Girlfriend - Part 5
Two of my top 5 artists in collaboration right here, and they create a piece that is equal parts from both groups. The whole album is fantastic.

9. A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Requiem for the Static King Part 1
A short, yet elegant piece from these two fantastic composers.

10. Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Moon
I adore all of RS's work, but his work with AN is always incredible. Perfect music to make me want to curl up in my bed on a rainy day.

11. envy - Fading Vision
A band I so badly wanted to sneak in this mix. Not easy since they are a screamo/post-hardcore band, but they're definitely in my top 5 as well and I had to have them here. This song is a great example of their breadth as musicians. Top tier group that exemplifies how to evoke an emotional response. I highly recommend them out.

Additional recommendation:

Eric Whitacre - Lux Nova
I couldn't fit this track on this mix, because of time and how it stuck out of place, but he definitely needs to be mentioned. His choral works prove that choral music is not dead. He is amazing.


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Passing by: Carbon Based Lifeforms, Ourson, Vermont, GWFAA, & Ametsub

Carbon Based Lifeforms – The Path

This is CBL before they were even CBL. This is spaced-out ambient music from Sweden before we even knew there were producers IN Sweden. This is music thats spinning off the back of The Orb, FSOL and Aphex Twin in the late 90’s; mixing psychedelic soundtracks, samples, synthesizers and god-damn didgeridoos. Two of the finest carving the very CBL sound we know of todayAvailable on Bandcamp.


Ourson – Light From A Closing Door

Only the long-time ASIP readers will remember the name Ourson. But after what seems like an eternity, Luke has put a neat little album of previously unreleased works up on Bandcamp. Think long-form grainy, warm ambient and you’re in the right zone. It’s just… if you get in that zone, it’s pretty hard to get back out with this kind of stuff… Available on Bandcamp.


Vermont – Vermont

Kompakt isn’t in the game of taking on too many new artists. You’ll often find their deep roster on rotation or releasing under numerous guises, but here’s a new colab between Innervisions’ Marcus Worgull and Danilo Plessow (of Motor City Drum Ensemble fame). I had no ideas what to expect with this album due to minimal knowledge of Motor City Drum Ensemble, but after several listens, this is definitely growing on me.

It’s alarmingly addictive straight-up synth-muddled ambient electronica. The tracks are simple, memorable and obviously produced by two guys exploring each others styles, yet individually, know where to take a track if they needed to; they just strapped restraints on themselves this time around. I can foresee some pretty amazing remixes coming out from this album… i’m thinking (hoping) Pantha Du Prince, The Field or even Dominik Eulberg – there’s certainly enough to play with. Available on Kompakt.


Good Weather For An Airstrike – A Home For You

I know how many fans of Hammock there are out there. And trust me, if you’re one of these then you’ll love what Tom has to offer with Good Weather For An Airstrike. He’s by no means an imitation – rather a younger prodigy of the ambient post-rock genre. ‘A Home For You’ is a beautiful new album peppered with emotion, heart-wrenching crescendos and best of all, the ultimate space to breathe and take it all in. That is until, you experience the epicness of the track ‘Tides’. Available on Bandcamp.


Ametsub – Seek Sick Sound Podcast

What starts as a jazz-oriented ambient interlude, soon progresses into the notorious glitchy world of Japan’s finest IDM master-mind, Ametsub. Never one to remain stagnant in a mix, Ametsub then goes on to present moments of dub-techno, breaks and even more complex beats. If your world of melodic bleeps isn’t quenched with this one, then try his slightly more subtle isolatedmix which he did for us back in 2012. Download and more information on Seek Sick Sound.


Photo taken on approach to Dallas by A Strangely Isolated Place.