Max Wurden

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.


Silent Season - Campfire Stories 42 (ASIP - Titan Kawaakari)

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You are likely well aware of the brilliant Silent Season label by now, but you may not be aware of their brilliant mix series that's focused on inviting guests to tell a story - Campfire Stories - through deep ambient and techno music. Some of my favorite selectors have graced the series so far, and there's plenty to get stuck into. Listen to the series on Soundcloud

I'm honored to be a part of the series and because of the special place Silent Season has in my heart, I spent a long time making this mix as special as possible. It went through around five iterations, and I finally settled on a deep and meditative space-infused ambient mix that aims to be a nice compliment to the release of Markus Guentner's new album on June 11th. 

The mix includes some of my recent favorites by Rafael Anton Irisarri on Umor RexDedekind Cut on Kranky, Terreke's meditative tape loops on Music From Memory, a track from Graintable's debut synth-odyssey album, and a deep cut from Powlos on Faint. Mixed in-between these comes several unreleased tracks and some self-released bits dug out from the ever-dependable rabbit-hole that is Bandcamp. All links to buy and support provided below.

Hope you enjoy the story, and thanks to Jamie at Silent Season for the deep forest hospitality. 


~ About The Story ~

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found, including lakes, seas, rivers and rain.

Kawaakari is the glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり).

~ Chapters ~

1. Sophia Loizou - Divine Interference (Kathexis
2. qebrµs - ฌฎ๒๓๔ญ°°°°° (Self released)
3. Erica Etami - Contemplation (Self released)
4. Merrin Karras - Phaedra (unreleased)
5. Steve Good - Falling Upwards [Self released]
6. James Bernard - (unreleased)
7. Terreke - Ambien [Music From Memory]
8. Grand River - Flies [Spazio Disponibile
9. Graintable - 610 [Ransom Note Records]
10. Markus Guentner (with Julia Kent) - Refraction [A Strangely Isolated Place]
11. Dedekind Cut - Hollow Earth [Kranky]
12. Markus Guentner - Redshift [A Strangely Isolated Place]
13. Powlos - Of Theory [Faint Music]
14. Max Wuerden - (unreleased)
15. r beny - Vestigial [Self released]
16. 36 - DNI [unreleased]
17. Acronym - Pointless Endeavour [Field Records]
18. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Mountain Stream [Umor Rex]
19. Isorinne - Views From A Balcony [Northern Electronics]

Image/photo by Aperture Vintage


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