Anton Kubikov

isolatedmix 71 - Anton Kubikov : Ambient Landcast


The Biosphere-esque EP "Music For Currydoors" alongside Maxim Milutenko was my first introduction to Anton Kubikov. During my obsessive Traum Schallplatten era (see Traumbient), this track was one of many introductions to a wealth of artists who crossed the divide between ambient and techno. It was a small appearance on Traum, but gave a taster of what he can do alongside partner Maxim, where they were both busy producing as SCSI-9 and releasing on labels like Trapez, Force Tracks and Kompakt

Not necessarily known for ambient music at the time, Anton’s career has been largely rooted in techno as the founder of esteemed label Pro-tez. But as we’re about to find out, ambient music has always been a big part of his life, with subtleties creeping through and influencing some of his many releases over the years. Through more dub-techno EP's like 'Bushes/Moving’ and ‘Inner’, or deep techno EP’s such as ‘Before/After’ and ‘Aniko/Evora’, Anton consistently creates beautiful deep journeys within his extensive productions. 

That perception may now stray further into the ambient realm after releasing his first album on Kompakt’s prestigious Pop Ambient album series, titled 'Whatness'. After a push from label head Michael Mayer, Anton embarked on the full-length and threw his entire production armory at what is, an extremely varied and creative record. Using random noise generators, resampling, modular synthesizers and step-sequencers, Calimba, guitar, piano and even poetry, Whatness continues to break the ever-changing Pop Ambient umbrella. 

Anton’s mix, is a creative concept which we haven’t seen here on ASIP before, bucking the potentially expected dive into deep techno territory. Inspired by reading biographies of some of experimental and avant-garde's most prestigious pioneers, Anton discovered a unique approach to the mix:

"As if listening to different songs in youtube, I did not turn them off but began to layer on each other. I reached five tracks simultaneously playing, and fell into hypnosis. The idea of he mix was born. The main thing was to show the works of different years throughout the 20th century from the 30s to the 80s, when such music, it seemed to me, did not go out into the broad masses but remained amongst intellectuals”. 

An educational class featuring some this century's most defining experimental innovators.



01. Sofia Gubaidulina & Choir of the Moscow Experimental Electronic Music Studio - Vivente-Non Vivente [1989]
02. Eliane Radigue - Geelreandre [1979]
03. Delia Derbyshire & Barry Bermange - Falling [2014]
04. Morton Feldman - Two Pianos [1953-1969]
05. Bernard Parmegiani - De Natura Sonorum, Première série [1975]
06. Morton Feldman- Three Voices For Joan La Barbara-Legato [1989]
07. Else Marie Pade - Faust Suite: Faust & Margrethes Kærlighed [1958-1995]
08. Alvin Lucier -  Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings [2009]
09. Edison Denisov - Bird’s Singing [1990]
10. Oliver Messiaen - Oraison [1937]
11. Else Marie Pade - Syv Cirkler [1958]
12. Morton Feldman- Three Voices For Joan La Barbara - Whisper [1989]
13. Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing [1979]
14. Harold Budd - Bell Tower [2003]

Anton Kubikov | Facebook | Soundcloud | Kompakt


isolatedmix 65 - Würden & Pfeiffer


We start our 2017 schedule with two of ambient music's most recent strongholds, Max Würden & Thore Pfeiffer.

After arriving on Kompakt's Pop Ambient compilation in 2015, and making appearances with tracks in the subsequent two years ('16 & '17) both artists have helped shape the new-school of Pop Ambient artists and sound emerging from this notorious platform - an ever-developing, yet distinct sound from the mind of label boss Wolfgang VoigtThore also helped launch the Pop Ambient album series, following in the footsteps of Leandro Fresco, with his debut, Im Blickfield - a melodic and inviting sound that's synonymous with the series.

Whilst also in 2015, Max presented his album Retour on Wolfgang Voigt's other recently launched curated series, Exponate - a label which intends to, "open up new musical spaces and to sound out the increasingly liquified confines between abstract ambient music and art music, between electronica and new music". 

After a production together on 2015's Pop Ambient edition, titled Feinherb the duo intend to continue their plans of producing together. Max and Thore have been enjoying creating mixes in the meantime, with their first dropping Savvy Records last year, and more recently a Winter special on Kompakt last December.

For isolatedmix 65, we're treated to an amalgamation of overlapping textures and finely tuned atmospheres. Expect a similar approach to Markus Guentner's isolatedmix (Ten Years of Pop Ambient), which focused heavily on the Pop Ambient sound, but with some additional unique twists and turns that span the spectrum of influences for them both, all wrapped amongst some carefully considered, extended transitions. 

Mixing ambient music can be exploratory in approach given its similar capacity and textures, and the duo take advantage with many tracks played at the same time. Questioning when one ends and another begins will be a familiar experience throughout - but that's when you know you're wrapped in something so deep you won't want to surface. 



01. Intro – Road Works / Open Fire
02. Anton Kubikov – Dekka - Pop Ambient 2017 (Kompakt
03. Marsen Jules – Yara 4 - Yara (Oktaf) / The Hunt For Red October (O.S.T.) – Plane Crash – The Hunt For Red October (MCA Records)
04. Gas – Pop 5 – Pop (Kompakt) / Efdemin – Ohara – Decay (Dial)
05. Higher Intelligence Agency & Biosphere – Augusta Road – Birmingham Frequencies (Headphone)
06. Markus Guentner – Paragon – Theia (A Strangely Isolated Place)
07. Max Würden – Perfect Moment - Or Lost (Farfield Records) / Pauline Oliveros / Stuart Dempster / Panaiotis – Suiren – Deep Listening (New Albion)
08. Thore Pfeiffer – Good Life – Pop Ambient 2017 (Kompakt)
09. Cory Allen & Marcus Fischer – Two / Twenty-Two / Seventy- Seven – Two / Twenty Two (Bandcamp) / Shades Of Orion – Liquid Shade – Shades Of Orion (FAX +49-69/450464)
10. Maps and Diagrams – The Shape of Things To Come – Air Texture Volume I (Air Texture)
11. Max Würden – Unterwasser III – Retour (Exponate)
12. Wounds – Losing Focus – Winter Ambient Box (Not on label) / Martin Schmitz – Orgel DX 10 - 50°58'2.19''N, 7°0'6.73''E (Noorden) / Main – Cavitation – Deliquescence (Beggars Banquet)

Würden & Pfeiffer | Facebook
Max Würden
| | | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Facebook
Thore Pfeiffer | | Soundcloud | Facebook


Kompakt - Pop Ambient 2016


Our favorite ambient compilation marks its 2016 release with a stand-out return by The Orb, some subtle changes in direction and a couple of surprising remixes.

Stephan Mathieu begins proceedings with a slightly uncharacteristic Pop Ambient track, edging into drone territory, only made accessible to the compilation as the piano opens up towards a more recognizable Pop Ambient finale.

It's a fitting intro to the return of The Orb, who take a different path to their more recent album output, and reflect on The Orb of past - a KLF style start is quickly drowned by a pulsating synth, as the cowbells subside and a smoother more Pop Ambient style line dissects the second half - this is the kind of stuff we've been missing from Fehlmann and Paterson.

At this point you'll realize Kompakt have decided to 'mix' the album - their first attempt if I remember correctly, and a change that is more than welcomed as the Pop Ambient sound develops and continues to grow over the years.

I know Anton Kubikov from his Traum releases alongside Milutenko, responsible for some rather dark and introvert ambient music. This time however Anton is playing ball with the beautiful light aesthetic that Pop Ambient demands in the track, April

Max Wuerden is 2016's new Pop Ambient prodigy, just like 2015 introduced us to Thore Pfeiffer.  Hailing from Cologne, it's no surprise to hear Max on this compilation and Unterwasser is a superb debut that has all the hallmarks Wolfgang much search high and low for each year. Looking through the port-hole of a submarine, Unterwasser clanks with thuds of underwater metal, and shines with the echoes of a nearby school of Dolphins. 

The compilation then takes a new twist with the cinematic strings of Sicker Man & Gregor Schwellenbach - more akin to a soundtrack than the synth-heavy warmth of Pop Ambient past. 

The jaunting, looping signature style of Thore Pfeiffer is then partnered with newcomer Max Wuerden for a classic sounding Pop Ambient track, underpinned with a tense, growing atmosphere that Max no doubt helmed, slowly digressing into the staple heavy synths of Mikkel Metal on Titan. 

Leandro Fresco provides a surprising remix on Dave DK's track, Veira. Leandro's normally a sucker for some intensely warm tones, but this approach features a glistening light show layered atop a slow burning dub-beat - a stunning take on the original.

As if it was of any doubt by now, Wolfgang found a new favorite in Thore Pfeiffer, and deservedly so, especially when taking the classic Pop Ambient sound into consideration. Thore's megamix of Wolfgang's, Rückverzauberung takes the entire series concepted by Wolfgang and distills it into one track - an earnest feat, even if it isn't too recognizable by the sum of its parts. 

Jens Uwe-Beyer was Kompakt's most recent dedicated Pop Ambient album with, The Emissary,  so it's of little surprise to see the Popnoname legend appear on this 2016 edition. The slight delay of a piano is shrouded in swirling pads - a discerning warp-hole that leads you into the gently strummed guitars and howling wind of Leandro Fresco'sConfiguración De Ataque. The Argentinian never fails to disappoint and if you thought his style was pinned-down, then his two efforts on this compilation show he has so much more to give.

Thore Pfeiffer steps up to finish the release with an angelic, mechanical juxtaposition, that sounds like a summers-day played backwards in a very hypnotic fashion. It's the perfect appendix to the newly mixed approach from Kompakt, which has continued to establish the sound we've come to love, and introduce us to many new ones. 

It does make me wonder what this compilation will sound like in a few years time. With the subtle introduction of Stephan Mathieu's drones and Sicker Man & Gregor Schwellenbach's cinematic strings, Wolfgang's aperture within ambient music has expanded for the better, but I sure hope it doesn't digress from the sound he has spent cultivating over the past decade.

Available on 13th November, you can listen to samples over on the Kompakt release page.

01. Stephan Mathieu - April Im Oktober
02. The Orb - Alpine Dawn
03. Anton Kubikov - April
04. Max Würden - Unterwasser
05. Sicker Man & Gregor Schwellenbach - Turns
06. Würden & Pfeiffer - Feinherb
07. Mikkel Metal - Titan
08. Dave DK - Veira (Leandro Fresco Mix) 
09. Wolfgang Voigt - Rückverzauberung (Thore Pfeiffer Megamix) 
10. Jens-Uwe Beyer - The Bremen
11. Leandro Fresco - Configuración De Ataque
12. Thore Pfeiffer - Idyll