Yagya

Pre order: Yagya / Stormur

 

Known to many for his infamous ambient dub techno album, ‘Rigning’, Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson’s aka Yagya's landmark release took us deep amongst the rain-drenched forest. The beautiful, slowly shuffling atmospheric masterpiece set a blueprint for the notorious style we now know him best for. Fast forward ten years, and the gently falling rain from Rigning has now intensified. Yagya has shifted to something with more energy, a more defined groove, and a growing euphoric state: Stormur. 

Stormur, sees Yagya continue to evolve his sound into the pure techno realm. His unique palette still identifiable, but the focus now on the swirling hypnotism, the delicate tonal progressions, whispering vocals, and the underlying current that transports you. From the forest floor to the soaring treetops, the dense whirlpools of mist, and the breathtaking landscapes are now seen from above. 

Confident in its simplicity and efficiency, Stormur is focused on the subtle flow and progression between tracks akin to a full DJ set, transporting you from one chapter to the next. Each track taking its cue from the previous. The tonal shifts are minimal, resulting in a trance-like state throughout the ten movements, best absorbed in one sitting, with guest vocalist Hatis Noir providing an angelic voice amongst the shifting patterns, swirling synthesizers and driving grooves. 

 

Available in transparent blue marbled vinyl (400 copies), and black vinyl (200 copies) housed in a matte-laminated gatefold sleeve, including a full mixed-album CD and digital download.

See release page for full details and links to buy.

 
 

Portals: Music For Sleeping

 

The easiest way to describe ambient music to somebody who isn't aware of it, is often to explain it as background music, or music that puts you to sleep. I find myself in that situation regularly, be it with taxi drivers asking about the show I'm heading off to ("so you don't dance - you just listen?!") family members asking about the music I put on the label, or pretty much anyone who only listens to nothing but pop music and think this stuff doesn't exist... However, when you explain it as "music for sleeping", it doesn't do the genre any justice whatsoever. Just take a look on Youtube, or Google "music for sleeping"; it's packed full of generic new-age type material that probably does the job for the many mums out there, but isn't a true reflection of some of the amazing coma-inducing music available. Let's open this world up a little more.

Music for sleeping doesn't necessarily mean music with the least obtrusive manner, or the most unnoticeable of noise. In my experience, you can probably fall asleep to any music you personally enjoy, feel comfort in, and can zone out to - be it full-on techno, subtle field recordings, ancient chanting or never-ending guitar loops. I think I've fallen asleep to all of the above at some point. 

During this exploration, I found several themes or styles of music that I enjoy falling asleep to. So instead of listing out individual tracks in a random order,  I've separated out the music by the five stages of the sleep cycle and given them each a theme / style of music that matches. 

Sleep cycles are apparently 90-minutes long, so you'll find two mixes accompanying this feature, (two cycles each consisting of 90-minutes) with each mix made up of the five sleep stages. The selection includes some of my favorites, as well as suggestions from a few readers via Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all who suggested albums, and made compiling this feature a new journey for me in many instances. 
 

Stage 1 "Fragmented Visuals" 

Light sleep; we drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows. People awakened from stage 1 sleep often remember fragmented visual images. Many also experience sudden muscle contractions called hypnic myoclonia, often preceded by a sensation of starting to fall

For stage one, I've chosen music that creates detailed and immersive textures. Music that's been crafted with pictures in mind, often including field recordings, giving you the sense of something happening, painting the world you're about to enter. These tracks have just enough detail for you to tune into whilst awake, but enough texture and unknown space to zone out to.

These types of tracks are often in the purest of ambient form consisting of simple textures made famous by many of the early ambient pioneers, such as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, The KLF and Biosphere

To help keep things interesting in this stage, the veterans sit alongside some more recent ambient/experimental artists such as Robert Rich, Gallery Six and Sage Taylor (Textural Being's more ambient guise). 
 

Stage 2 "Slowly floating"

When we enter stage 2 sleep, our eye movements stop and our brain waves (fluctuations of electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes) become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.

By now, I start to drift off and for this stage I've chosen the purest of ambient music focused on soft melodies and colorful textures - the easiest type of ambient music to fall asleep to due to its cloud-like feelings. It can range from simple synthesizer music, to orchestral scores, all uplifting and comforting in tone and texture; nothing too dark, and all very welcoming. 

This type of music ranges in style, from a more electronic feel to more instrumental. Kompakt's Pop Ambient Series is a great place to start (pretty much any of their stuff) and Pass Into Silence feature here alongside more soft electronic processing from Altus,  Home Normal'sChronovalve, the widely regarded Disintegration Loops from William Basinski, one of my favourite tracks from Helios and perhaps my most played album at bedtime by Jonas Munk's Billow Observatory project. 

Some of the more instrumental pieces that offer gentle, drifting lullabies include Hammock's inviting guitar drones, or beautiful soundtracks from Jon Hopkins and Stars Of The Lid's, Brian McBride - each a delicate balance between comforting melodies and a poignant attention-grabbing movie score. 
 

Stage 3 "Rhythmic waves"

In stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves.

After drifting, comes the gentle trance-like repetition. For this stage I've chosen tracks with subtle rhythm, ambient pulses, or the gentle enveloping warmth of beats. It's hard to find music that doesn't disrupt within this style (an art it seems). Some will find this style too busy, whilst some will find the repetition soothing and comforting. 

This stage includes my personal favourite bedtime album from Yagya, the undercurrent of Wolfgang Voigt's, Gas project and fellow german Markus Guentner's pulsing ambient, the ethereal, angelic progression of bvdub and one of Loscil's finest ambient projects to date, Fern & Robin, taken from his album Endless Falls


Stage 4 "Into The Deep"

By stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is very difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4, which together are called deep sleep. There is no eye movement or muscle activity

The second stage of deep sleep requires indulging atmospheres, so the theme of this stage suited more intense sounds, erring on the side of drone music in many instances. These are the washes of sound that remove the finer details and blanket you with color and texture to confirm your paralyses. 

This stage includes the deep electronic experiments of Alva NotoLine's Tu 'M, and Thomas Koner, alongside the drone gods of Rafael Anton Irisarri and the infamous Stars Of The Lid 


Stage 5 (REM) "The Other Worlds"

 

When we switch into REM sleep, our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. Our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises. When people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales – dreams.

By now, you're starting to dream, which calls for new worlds and vivid landscapes. This is perhaps one of the more popular styles of sleep music looking back at what's out there already. The psychedelic worlds and space-like ambient music is often the stereotype for escapism and outer-world experiences and along with meditation and relaxation. 

For this stage I've chosen the space-like sounds of Global Communication, Biosphere, Neel, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Solar Fields and Stellardrone, alongside the eery melody of Aphex Twin's Blue Calx - potentially the softest-ever travel pillow.

~

The list, and the mixes could have gone on forever but I had to stop somewhere, so maybe there will be a time for future sleep cycles if you enjoy them. For now, here's two to see you through a couple of horizontal sessions. 

As described previously, the mixes are split into the above sleep stages in a hope they mirror the overall sleep cycle. I'm no doctor or expert in sleep, so this is by no way mean't to actually be a prescriptive sleep session! It was just a nice way to structure the approach, and you never know, it might work for you. 

Once you've listened, feel free to comment below with your experience and if the mixes did the job. Of course, you probably wouldn't know if they did... 

Cycle 1 (90 mins) Download

Tracklist:
Stage 1.1 Brian Eno - Drift (Apollo A&S
Stage 1.2 Aphex Twin - Rhubarb (SAW II)
Stage 1.3 Sage Taylor - Raintime Ten (Raintime)
Stage 1.4 Gallery Six - The Frozen Lake (The Fogbound Island)
Stage 2.1 Pass Into Silence - Iceblink (Pop Ambient 2006)
Stage 2.2 Chronovalve - The Gravity Of Dreams (Trace of Light)
Stage 2.3 Billow Observatory - Pankalia (Billow Observatory)
Stage 3.1 Gas - Pop 3 (Pop)
Stage 3.2 Yagya - Rigning tiu (Rigning)  
Stage 4.1 Tu M’ - Monochrome #01 (Monochrome Vol.1)
Stage 4.2 Alva Noto - Xerrox Radieuse (Xerrox Vol.3)
Stage 5.1 Carbon Based Lifeforms - Somewhere in Russia (Twentythree)
Stage 5.2 Global Communication - 9.39 (76.14)
Stage 5.3 Neel - The Secret Revealed (Phobos)
Stage 5.4 Biosphere - Kobresia (Substrata
 

Cycle 2 (90 mins) Download

Tracklist:
Stage 1.1 Biosphere - ’t Schop (The Hilvarenbeek Recordings)
Stage 1.2 Robert Rich - Summer Thunder (Echo Of Small Things)
Stage 1.3 The KLF - Six Hours to Louisiana, Black (Chill Out)
Stage 2.1 William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops 3 (The Disintegration Loops)
Stage 2.2 Helios - Vargtimme (Eingya)
Stage 2.3 Brian McBride - Girl Nap (The Effective Disconnect
Stage 2.4 Jon Hopkins - Campfire (Monsters OST)
Stage 2.5 Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow (Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow)
Stage 2.6 Altus - Sodium Glow (Black Trees Among Amber Skies)
Stage 3.1 Markus Guentner - Dockside (Talking Clouds EP)
Stage 3.2 bvdub - I Would Have Waited (Songs For A Friend I Left Behind)
Stage 3.3 Loscil - Fern & Robin (Endless Falls)
Stage 4.1 Rafael Anton Irisarri - Persistence (Unsaid EP)
Stage 4.2 Thomas Koner - Nuuk Air (Nuuk)
Stage 4.3 Stars Of The Lid - The Artificial Pine Arch Song (The Ballasted Orchestra)
Stage 5.1 Solar Fields - Silent Walking (Origin #1)
Stage 5.2 Stellardrone - Nightscape (Echoes)
Stage 5.3 Aphex Twin - Blue Calx (SAW II)

Spotify playlist featuring a majority of music from this post:

Feature image by Dorian DenesT-shirts with the Music For Sleeping design are now available on his website.

If you're new to ambient music or would like more of the same, try our in-depth feature, Neither Scene Nor Heard : a journey through ambient music

 

Mr Frankie - Sunday Morning Session (ASIP tribute mix)

Mr Frankie has been kind enough to put together an ASIP tribute mix, featuring tracks from The Places Series alongside more recent releases such as Europe and Arovane & Hior Chronik.

You can pick up any of these releases, most of them for free, over on the releases page.

Download.

 

Tracklist:

01. 36 - Heather Spa
02. Yeter - Dart 3
03. Benjamin Dauer - Eight And Forty
04. Textural Being - Vantage Points
05. Enh - Roke
06. Ex Confusion - Before We Begin
07. Levi Patel - Dissociation (Extended)
08. Norge - 165 Minutes With You
09. Halo - The Inner Realm
10. Kit - Girl Walking On The Beach Wearing A Skirt
11. Mig Dfoe - Mares
12. Nobuto Suda - Nobody Levee
13. Dalot - Home
14. Arovane & Hior Chronik - A Day, November 2013
15. Yagya - The North Shore


 

Everyday Dust, Girių Dvasios, Virtual Dream Plaza, Yagya

 
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Everyday Dust - Combination Nova

Sparkwood Records have featured in a couple of Passing By features now, through Scyye, and Eyesix if you can recall. Here they return with an multi-disciplined record collating remixes of previously released Everyday Dust records. The floating deepness of John Lemke and the guitars of Zenjungle book-end a rather splendid compilation that will appeal to ambient and dub-techno fans.

Available on Bandcamp.

 
 

Girių Dvasios - Ratu

This record has really hit a sweet spot with me. I think it's a combination of the quality dub-techno production that underlays each track, the slightly nostalgic trance-like chants and the complete uniqueness of it all. Girių has combined Lithuanian chanting with dub-techno to form an absolutely brilliant record that will have you mesmerized.

Available on Bandcamp.

 
 

Virtual Dream Plaza - Night Lovers

I fell into a untranslatable warp-hole that seems to combine vintage/80's sounds and lush ambient textures, half-an-hour at a time. Virtual Dream Plaza's music is tagged as Vaporwave, which apparently "...sometimes serves as both a critique and a parody of consumerist society, '80's yuppie culture, and New Age music, while sonically and aesthetically showcasing a curious nostalgic fascination with their artifacts" - well ladies and gentlemen, there's something new for us all.

I'm only a couple down from Virtual Dream Plaza's Bandcamp catalogue, but with each one, 30-minutes just washes over me, and those album covers just add to the weirdly juxtaposed animosity and warmth I'm feeling from each record. 

Available on Bandcamp

 
 

Joris Voorn - The Wild (Yagya Remix)

Yagya has just turned in this gorgeous remix for tech-superstar Joris Voorn. It's signature Steini, but there's some real up-beat energy amongst the always glorious swathes of pads. There's some other great remixes on this album too, specifically Mathew Dear's and Nobody Home's

Available at Beatport

 
 

ASIPV002 - Europe

 
 

After the success of our debut vinyl release, Uncharted Places, I’m very pleased to announce we’ll be returning with Europe, a meticulously curated compilation inspired by some of the most beautiful locations on the continent.

Spanning ambient, modern classical, drone and electronica, it’s a journey experienced through the eyes and ears of the artists, capturing their memories, travels, tributes, and exquisite musical depictions.

Beginning with a peaceful ode to her Greek home, Dalot finds harmony on Kalathas beach, Halo is enraptured by a wet city scene in Zurich, and 36 tries to make sense of London’s countless contrasts.

In more remote parts, Horizontal Excursions (aka Roger Martinez) discovers the symphony of life on the subtropical island of La Gomera,Bjorn Rohde paints a vivid picture of the Pyrénées, and Marsen Jules finds paradise in the Andalusian mountains.

From cosmopolitan utopias to breath-taking cornucopias, every track on Europe is immersed in discovery. Effortlessly traversing geography and emotions, it’s a collection that revels in borderless ambition but also celebrates the intricacies that makes every passage unique.

Closer to sea-level, Dextro finds inspiration in the Isle of Barra’s oceanic panorama, Parks channels the coastal howl of Helsingborg, andCarbon Based Lifeforms uncovers delicate harmonies in the Spring-time forests of East Gothenburg.

Finally, Yagya brings Europe to its beautiful conclusion. Alone on Reykjavik’s north shore, the iconic producer forgets himself, and the city behind him, as the infinite ocean horizon commands his lost gaze.

Personal and poignant, the album artwork also reflects the craft of the music with a specially commissioned, mixed-print and hand-painted piece by Nick Brzostowski created exclusively for the release.

Europe is available on limited edition double-transparent blue vinyl (300 copies with digital download) from January 26th 2015.

There is also a special limited edition wooden vinyl case – just five pieces – made for this release. More details available here.

BUY THE VINYL: *SOLD OUT*
BUY THE DIGITAL: ASIP Bandcamp

 
 

TRACKLIST
A1. Dalot – Home
A2. Halo – Rain Says
A3. 36 – London
B1. Horizontal Excursions – Garajonay
B2. Bjorn Rohde – Tour De Pyrénées
B3. Marsen Jules – Andalucia
C1. Dextro – Heaval
C2. Parks – When The Last Ferry Left Helsingborg
D1. Carbon Based Lifeforms – Vakna
D2. Yagya – The North Shore

Reviews: Igloo Mag | Sceen.fm | Boomkat

Europe was manufactured by Furnace MFG / Pallas (DE), distributed by Juno, and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri (Ghostly International).

More on the artists involved:

Dalot
By blending post-rock and ambient textures, Greece’s Maria Papadomanolaki sculpts a delicate personal sonic territory animated by life stories, experiences, places and people. She has released music on n5MD, Coorecords, Headphone Commute, Radical Matters, This Is It Forever, Sound In Silence, Sun Sea Sky, Futuresequence and Hands Productions.

Halo
A young composer from Italy, now residing in Zurich, Pasquale Riviezzo started Halo as a very personal experience inspired by his thoughts and feelings. Playing piano for 13 years and the guitar for 8, Halo is already gaining acclaim for his beautiful compositions with releases onDewtone Recordings and the ASIP Places Series.

36
36 (pronounced three-six) is the ambient/experimental project of Dennis Huddleston from the United Kingdom. Raised on a healthy diet of old skool hardcore and techno, these days he spends his time releasing highly emotive and melancholic ambient, mainly for his own label 3six Recordings.

Horizontal Excursions
Roger Martinez is a multi-disciplinary artist from the Netherlands. He mainly works in the field of music, but is also an avid painter and poetry writer. His main musical projects include “Roger Martinez LIVE” and “Horizontal Excursions”, with a previous HE project released as part of the ASIP Places Series.

Bjorn Rohde
An elusive and varied producer hailing from the Ruhr Area in Germany, Bjorn is best known for his emotional journeys in dub-techno for the likes of Dewtone Recordings.

Marsen Jules
The German electronic music composer is a poet in sound. Focused on minimalism and abstraction he creates atmospheric and deeply emotional tunes. Since his CD debut on City Centre Offices he released 10 full-length albums and several compilation tracks on labels as12K, Kompakt, Miasmah and Dronarivm as well as his own imprint Oktaf Records.

Dextro
An avid live performer, Scotland’s Ewan Mackenzie has played alongside the likes of Ulrich Schnauss, Loscil, Jacaszek, Amon Tobin and Bonobo to name just a few. His energetic, drum-focused productions have been released through Border Community, and Ninjatune, with ‘Heavel’ recently featured on Nick Warren’s Soundgarden Compilation.

Parks
Composer Igor Bystrov has been releasing music for nearly 25 years and has only recently received deserved acclaim for his warm and emotional, analogue based electronica and ambient soundscapes. Truly unique and original in his approach, Igor has released on Infraction RecordsEntropy and the ASIP ‘Places Series’.

Carbon Based Lifeforms
The Swedish ambient duo of Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad are often cited as one of the original innovators of electronic ambient music, with many acclaimed releases on the legendary Ultimae Records, it’s a rarity and a celebration to finally see CBL’s music on wax.

Yagya
Icelandic dub-techno pioneer, Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson concentrates on atmospheres and moods to reflect the beauty of the world around him. Concentrating on the softer side of music and avoiding heavy rhythms, Yagya finds harmony and beauty in the simple sounds of nature. Previous releases on DelsinSending Orbs and Subwax Bcn.

Vinyl photos by Hikaru: www.capturecollect.co.uk. Vinyl Case photos by astrangelyisolatedplace.