ASIP - Reflection on 2018

 
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This year marked some significant milestones in my life personally and with ASIP. It was our ten-year anniversary and with it came our Full Circle vinyl project. I didn’t think I would get around to doing this year-end mix given everything going on, but it’s always funny how and when inspiration strikes to pull something together. Sleepless, stressful nights, this mix provided me with just the right amount of reflection, and distraction for my insomnia.

As with all of my ‘Reflection’ year-end mixes, I start with a long list of tracks and albums I have enjoyed over the year. By the process of putting together a mix that I feel flows well as per any other mix I put together, the songs are whittled down and selected. This means many of my faves are often omitted in the process. But as I say every year, this isn’t a definitive ‘best-of’ list, but an organic selection of some of my favorite music from 2018 in an enjoyable format, as a piece in itself.

I subsequently put together a second 1.5 hours following this mix, but when I got into that territory, I started to wonder where I would actually stop... I found new releases I loved just this week, and wanted to revisit it all again. But, I was hard on myself to keep it to just this one mix - a 2hr journey through some of 2018’s finest. The mix spans many styles I love, touching on modern-classical, experimental, ambient, drone and electronica but the biggest omission (that is often included in previous years mixes) is much of the techno and dub-techno I’ve listened to. The mix didn’t go that way naturally, and then I ran out of time after giving myself a 2-hr limit.

Here’s the quick rundown:

Rhian Sheehan opens the mix as he does Full Circle, returning after several years away with a stunning new compositional album. Johnny Greenwood pricked my ears whilst watching You Were Never Really Here. Steve Good made it into the year-end mix once again with another solid ambient album. Poemme provided the light and tranquil vibes whilst Warmth added the density with another superb full-length. Mount Shrine lulled me to sleep on many occasions and Hotel Neon offered some of their best work to date. Abul Mogard never disappoints and r beny should be held to a similar superlative given his great work this year. Acronym & Korridor brought their rare tape to the digital realm. Laura Luna Castillo was a lovely new find for me with a varied experimental album. Indulging in the Field Works boxset this year, I struggled to only offer one track out of the bunch. Grand River finally put out her album opus after several strong EPs. Richard Devine blew our minds with a crazy piece of IDM - as expected. Diamondstein tag-teamed with Sangam for a future-facing journey and 36’s Patreon subscription continued to provide some of his best work yet. Vril hit us with one of the years bets ambient techno albums on Delsin. One of this years biggest surprises probably goes to Skee Mask dropping his genre-traversing rave inspired album. Wanderwelle created one of the years most unique sounding storied albums. Helios, came back to the ambient fray with his debut on Ghostly and a more nostalgic melancholic album. DJ Healer was likely one of my most-listened to albums of the year for the lo-fi reflective nature of his sound and a definitive soundtrack to my trip to Tokyo. Ocoeur continued to innovate his varied production approach for n5MD and Rival Consoles perfected his upfront electronic sound on Erased Tapes. A dream duo in Synkro and Arovane lived up to the hype of both, and The Black Dog’s two albums reminded us all of their mastery and depth. Inner River lead Atomnation’s 2018 output and Jon Hopkins will be topping many lists no doubt. Lastly, Mysteries of The Deep launched their label with an amazing roster, and presented us with Lori Scacco, who rounds out the mix on an uplifting note.

To see all the music I’ve enjoyed this year and many great pieces I didn’t manage to fit into this mix, just head over to the ASIP Bandcamp collection page and some of the accompanying notes I write on each purchase.

Thanks to everyone here for the music, and a big shout to anyone not included who’s music I have loved and supported this year. I’m still catching up on many and wish I could’ve included so many more.

Download

Tracklist (View all Bandcamp links in one link here, via "BuyMusic.club")

01. Rhian Sheehan - All Who Remain [Self]
02. Johnny Greenwood - Tree Stings [Lakeshore Records]
03. Steve Good - 360 [Self]
04. Poemme - At the Gates Of Dawn [Stereoscenic Records]
05. Warmth - Receiver [Archives]
06. Mount Shrine - Winter Restlessness [Cryo Chamber]
07. Hotel Neon - Roke [Archives]
08. Abul Mogard - Where Not Even [Ecstatic]
09. r beny - in the violet and lingering winter dusk [Self]
10. Acronym & Korridor - Sscending [Vaagner]
11. Laura Luna Castillo - Moskstraumen [Genot]
12. Field Works (Loscil) - Imprints [Temporary Residence]
13. Grand River - Ecouri [Spazio Disponible]
14. Richard Devine - Astra [Planet Mu]
15. Diamondstein & Sangam - Finding Peace Where There Isn't [Doom Trip]
16. 36 - Midnight Helix [Self]
17. Vril - Riese (Rework) [Delsin]
18. Skee Mask - Session Add [Ilian Tape]
19. Wanderwelle - The Seed of the Areoi [Silent Season]
20. Helios - Eventually [Ghostly]
21. DJ Healer - 2 The Dark [All Possible Worlds]
22. Ocoeur - Passage [n5MD]
23. Rival Consoles - Unfolding [Erased Tapes]
24. Roel Funcken - Sapper Morton [Analogical Force]
25. Synkro & Arovane - Aspen [Apollo]
26. The Black Dog - The Truth Is In The Post [Dust]
27. Inner River - Floe Flow [Atomnation]
28. Jon Hopkins - C O S M [Domino]
29. Lori Scacco - Strange Cities [Mysteries Of The Deep]

Stream select tracks on Spotify or Apple Music (Not all tracks are included)
Artwork photo by
Naphtali Marshall.

 

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>

 

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.

Download.

Tracklist:

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]

 

ASIP - Reflection on 2015

This years' ASIP Reflections mix closes out the annual "Advent Calendar" for our friends over at Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Featuring just a few of my favourite tracks from 2015 the mix process is always organic for me, so ultimately always misses out several styles. This one, has focused more on the ambient and techno side of things, and doesn't include some of the many electronica, IDM, shoegaze or softer ambient music we have featured this year.

As a special treat, I've finished the mix with the first listen of a remix coming out on ASIP in January, as part of ASIPV003R.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who has been reading, listening and supporting ASIP in 2015. We couldn't have had such an amazing year without you.

Download over on Soundcloud.

 

Tracklist:
01. Hior Chronik - Nest Of Autumn Feat. Sophie Hutchings (Kitchen) READ
02. Offthesky & Pleq - Ashes Of America (Infraction) READ
03. Leandro Fresco - Los Pasos Vacilantes De Los Reyes (Kompakt) READ
04. Heathered Pearls - Cast In Lemon & Sand (Ghostly)
05. Halftribe - Shells (Dewtone)
06. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Persistence (Room40) READ
07. ASC - Deluge of Thought (Silent Season) 
08. Synkro - Your Heart (Apollo) READ
09. Refracted - The Jungle Is Thick (Silent Season)
10. Voices From The Lake - Orange Steps (Editions Mego) READ
11. Martin Nonstatic - Granite (Ultimae) READ
12. Nautil - Mue (Further)
13. Acronym - Letting Go Of It All (Northern Electronics) READ
14. Voices From The Lake - Max (Editions Mego) READ
15. Donnacha Costello - Farewell (Self released) READ
16. Alessandro Cortini - Rimasta (Important)
17. Arovane & Hior Chronik - Day After Tomorrow (AMX) (A Strangely Isolated Place)

Tracknotes

Hior Chronik - Nest Of Autumn Feat. Sophie Hutchings (Kitchen) READ
This album is being heralded as one of the best by many in the past few weeks. My full review summarizes this beautiful piece of work, but this track with Sophie Hutchings is pretty outstanding.

Offthesky & Pleq - Ashes Of America (Infraction) READ
Infraction are one of the most consistent underrated labels out there, and this colab proves it. I'm pretty sure plenty of people skipped this album, but it's one of the most special soundtrack moments of 2015 - a true grower with an emotional climax.

Leandro Fresco - Los Pasos Vacilantes De Los Reyes (Kompakt) READ
Leandro has had a spectacular year, with the release of his dedicated Pop Ambient album and this, a contribution to the annual Pop Ambient compilation. His sound never falters and this is one of his more finer, articulate moments, slightly different to his regular stuff.

Heathered Pearls - Cast In Lemon & Sand (Ghostly)
Jakub's album is another being heralded across the many best-of lists. Body Complex crossed into more of his 'club' sound, whilst keeping his warm textures and this track was the closest to his previous ambient sound we've covered here on ASIP many times.

Halftribe - Shells (Dewtone)
Despite a relatively quiet year for the label, Dewtonw had a few stunners including the Shells EP by Halftribe.

Rafael Anton Irisarri - Persistence (Room40) READ
A Fragile Geography will undoubtedly be known as one of Rafael's best. Power, emotion and delicacy such as this beautiful track, traverse the album to show RAI's ever-growing library of sound.

ASC - Deluge of Thought (Silent Season) 
ASC on Silent Season is a guaranteed combination. His past outputs have been some of the best music of the year and Fervent Dream is no exception. Deep, dark and mysterious, James Clements crafts the finest of details into vivid landscapes.

Synkro - Your Heart (Apollo) READ
I'm a big fan of Synkro, along with his other guises such as Kiyoko. Changes switches between epic synth-laden ambient music and more upbeat electronica, all in a unique new-beat Synkro style that straddles the likes of Burial, the Autonomic sound and Drum'n Bass.

Refracted - The Jungle Is Thick (Silent Season)
Silent Season went deeper than ever this year and Refracted dug deepest. Bubbling, daunting techno that encapsulates and transports.

Voices From The Lake - Orange Steps (Editions Mego) READ
VFTL didn't do anything particularly new this year, but their LIVE album was another reason to fall in love with the duo. Whilst this track wouldn't stand out in its own, it fitted well in the mix and my favorite from the album was actually the below 'Max'.

Martin Nonstatic - Granite (Ultimae) READ
The sounds in this track and across his album are addictive, like an industrial clang of warm dub-techno. Martin's praise for this album is illustrated in the review, so it was no surprise he would have a place in here.

Nautil - Mue (Further)
A relatively overlooked techno release that more-or-less defined a few of the styles I really got stuck into this year, alongside the Refracted track and the likes of wndfrm. Further also had an amazing year as a label and look unstoppable right now.

Acronym - Letting Go Of It All (Northern Electronics) READ
I could have included a host of Northern Electronics tracks in a year-end mix and it was hard enough narrowing it down to this one from Acronym. I've seen the album, June, pop up on a few lists and I'm glad Abdulla Rashim's ever growing techno label is getting some well-deserved attention. 

Voices From The Lake - Max (Editions Mego) READ
This track epitomizes VFTL's album productions and their stray into the ambient world. Melodic, warming and above-all, memorable.

Donnacha Costello - Farewell (Self released) READ
Donnacha's Love From Dust may be my favorite album of the year. An amazing return centered on his spectacular synth work. Donnacha went on to release another album, Stay Perfectly Still, which was just as good.

Alessandro Cortini - Rimasta (Important)
Alessandro continued his yearly Forse analog assault to great effect. Despite being one of the most 'famous' people on this list through his Nine Inch Nails involvement, he was surprisingly my biggest discovery of the year which led to me hunting down all of his previous synth work.

Arovane & Hior Chronik - Day After Tomorrow (AMX) (A Strangely Isolated Place)
A little taster of the next ASIP release - a remix EP of Arovane & Hior Chronik's In-between.

 

ASIP - Reflection on 2014

 
 

It’s been another big year for me personally and despite it taking longer than anticipated, 2014 has seen our second vinyl release, Europe go into production, set for a Jan 19th release. On average, posts have been down on the site from month-to-month, with the record and my full-time job taking up much more time than normal, but I’ve still managed to squeeze a little reflection on the year into the schedule, and a look back at what’s tickled the ASIP earbuds.

My reflection normally comes in these mixes as opposed to lists or top-tens. (See 2013’s edition here). Anyone can put a top-ten together, but I feel like it needs a little more meaning and constraint, and a mix normally helps me with that. It enables me to touch on some of my favourite music of the year, cross different genres, include both the recognized and the new, and have a little fun along the way. One negative of course, I miss out on an absolutely tonne of music which I’d otherwise spotlight, but there’s plenty more sites out there that will help you find what you’ve missed, and an exhaustive list isn’t always helpful. This is my opportunity to capture the past year in one personal journey. Be it an accurate reflection or not, I never normally know until the mix is finished – that’s why it’s so fun and unexpected… but I’m happy with how it’s turned out.

On reflection, and an obvious difference this year to last, has been my focus, (or maybe a lot more peoples focus) on dub-techno. It helped that I was DJ’ing more this year, so I was definitely on the hunt for more vinyl, but I don’t think anyone will disagree it’s been a great year for the dark and dubby ambient side-kick, and I feel the need to call this out here. I could’ve put together an entire mix of my dub-techno finds, but I’ve chosen to include just a couple on this mix instead.

As with last year’s episode, the mix covers the genres we love here, including modern-classical, ambient, dub-techno, electronica and post-rock. So yes, be ready for twists and turns – unlike your more considered and conventional mix techniques. I’ve also decided to provide some track-notes below to give a bit more context on the music included – they deserve it.

Happy listening, and thank you to everyone who has read, listened and supported the site in 2014. 2015 is set to be an even bigger year with our second vinyl release, more great isolatedmixes and our very first artist release!

Download.

 
 

Tracklist:

01. Levi Patel – The Light Unbalances Her
02. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos VII
03. Otto A.Totland – Steps
04. Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal (Asleep version)
05. Loscil – Iona
06. Marsen Jules – Beautyfear III
07. ASC – The Machinery of Night
08. Leandro Fresco – Nada Es Para Siempre
09. Purl – The Stars Will Have An End
10. Neel – The Secret Revealed
11. Frank Sebastian – Towards Distance
12. Tdel – 1830
13. Donato Dozzy & Tin Man – Test 3
14. Gidge – Growth
15. Greg Chin – Dashboard Angels
16. To Destroy A City – First Light

Track notes.

Levi Patel – The Light Unbalances Her (Dado Records)
Levi has proven my belief in what I do. The young aspiring composer put together an amazing EP titled Forms and together we found a fitting home for it on John Beltran’s Dado Records. An absolutely sublime composition. Read the full ASIP review here.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos VII (Erased Tapes / Kranky)
With Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds sidestepping on the Erased Tapes label front this year, it was the turn of AWVFTS to take centre stage. A well celebrated album, Atomos encapsulates their magical stage presence and beautiful compositions that I first witnessed on the Erased Tapes 5th Anniversary show in 2012.

Otto A.Totland – Steps (Sonic Pieces)
Similarly, with Nils Frahm busy touring and becoming the new-found-master of live performances, the world was busy searching for the majestic piano-tinkering void left in his wake. We didn’t have to look far, and it came in the form of Deaf Center’s Otto A.Totland on Pinô – my favourite modern-classical release of the year and probably the most desired vinyl packaging to boot.

Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal (Asleep version) (Domino Records)
Another ambient master-mind that hit astronomical status this year. An Essential Mix, remixing Coldplay, and being shortlisted for a Mercury Music Prize are just some of the highlights for Jon this year. But, I’m a die-hard Hopkins fan and believe you’ll never beat him when it comes to his ambient pieces, so thank god he released the Asleep Versions this year – a small taster of why we all fell in love with his music back in2001.

Loscil – Iona (Kranky)
Sea Island is probably Loscil’s most accomplished release to date, and definitely my favourite. You can hear echoes of his previous releases scattered amongst these tracks, giving you familiarity whilst breathing new air into one of our favourite ambient producers of recent years.

Marsen Jules – Beautyfear III (Oktaf
I haven’t given Marsen enough love on ASIP over the years. The prolific german producer turned out Beautyfear for Oktaf this year. An instance of ‘abstract musical poetry’, created in a week during a stay in Lisbon. Look out for Marsen’s contribution to our very own release,‘Europe’ in January.

ASC – The Machinery of Night (Silent Season)
ASC returned with Truth Be Told, his second ambient release on Silent Season, again, to wide-applause selling out pretty much immediately. Deservedly so, it’s another dive into the hypnotic and immersive world of ASC.

Leandro Fresco – Nada Es Para Siempre (Kompakt)
This was the stand-out track on Kompakt’s annual pop Ambient series this year and apparently Leandro is set to return with a new album in 2015 too. The quality of his releases never ceases to amaze me.

Purl – The Stars Will Have An End (Dewtone)
Dewtone started off another succesful year with Purl’s return to the label, Behind Clouds. Another beautiful, bubbly slice of organic and dubby ambient music.

Neel – The Secret Revealed (Spectrum Spools). 
It came late in the year, but Phobos is one of the best releases of 2014. The Italian techno veteran takes a completely ambient approach this time around, in a similar guise to his Voices of The Lake alter-ego (with Dozzy). This record however, is much more ‘space-ambient’ themed, with expansive pads and enough depth to loose your head for days.

Frank Sebastian – Towards Distance (Subspiele)
In what was a big year for Subspiele, the label produced it’s first vinyl record, and what a great way to begin. Label boss Frank Sebastian was up first with a mixture of ambient and dub-techno on Towards Distance. More detail here.

Tdel – 1830 (Don’t Trust Humans)
One of the new finds from 2014, on ‘Don’t Trust Humans’, is this brilliant techno LP from Tdel. It ended up being one of my most loved techno records of the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what both Tdel and the label have in store for 2015.

Donato Dozzy & Tin Man – Test 3 (Acid Test)
I also spent a lot of my time this year exploring the Acid Test series. After seeing Dozzy and Neel play in Seattle, my love for their music took on a new meaning and 2014 has seen me accumulating pretty much anything I can find of theirs on vinyl including the latest Acid Test instalment, Acid Test 09.

Gidge – Growth (Atomnation)
The record of the year in many respects – Gidge’s Autumn Bells, is definitely one of my most played, and probably my most recommend album for anyone I speak to about music this year. An exploratory masterpiece in electronica. Gidge’s isolatedmix has also been one of the most loved mixes to date… who knows what this young norwegian pair have up their sleeves next.

Greg Chin – Dashboard Angels (Delsin Records)
Perhaps one of the more unrecognizable names on the track-list, comes in the form of Dashboard Angels from Greg Chin, taken from John Beltran’s latest compilation, Music For Machines. I haven’t got around to putting anything up on ASIP about this release yet, but it’s a superb double compilation of new ambient acts, highly recommended and this track is a shining example of the quality.

To Destroy A City – First Light (n5MD)
n5MD had a pretty big 2013 and looking back, 2014 has been just as big for them too, despite the spotlight not leaning their way too many times. To Destroy A City returned with Sunless, their sophomore album and a highly anticipated record for many post-rock fans. It certainly did the trick, and this track was a perfect closer for me.