DJ Healer - Nothing 2 Loose

 
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I needn't spend the time explaining the many guises, both old and new of DJ Healer aka Traumprinz. A quick Discogs check will do that for you. I do however, want to share one of his latest albums released with little fanfare in our world, but with certain hype amongst his cult following, and to the utmost surprise of many at the time.

DJ Healer's, 'Nothing 2 Loose' was a vinyl only release,  so I now find myself sat on Youtube time and time again this past few weeks, kicking myself for missing the vinyl run direct through the label and obsessing over a low-res recording of what is now one of my favorite albums this year. 

Organic, nostalgic, dreamy and effortless ambient and deep house rooted in vivid characterized samples, crackling vinyl sounds and what might be any combination of the aforementioned run through some grainy, tape overdubs. 

You can hear the urban grain of Burial, the malleable hypnotism of The Field, Eno's quaint respect for distant atmospheres, the sampling manipulation of Tongues of Light, and any number of classic Detroit house chords and influences stripped down to their purest, in what is a truly unique and special sound. 

I haven't had feeling since hearing DJ Sotofett's Current 82, or that Leon sample in Fatima Yamaha's What's A Girl To Do - there's this awesome new sense to deep house music recently- much of it attached to sampling vocals from films etc - that really hits the spot. It's by no means a new technique, but this new breed are going deeper than ever. 

Nothing 2 Loose, and the last track in particular, places you in the same room with the cast and crew behind the many samples, as a single tape player whirrs beautiful synthesizers in the background, for your own meditative prayer session.

Someone please sell me the vinyl. 

If this is your thing, then check out the two mixes below: - one as DJ Healer, and another as one of his other aliases (DJ Metatron), albeit pushing the same deep, emotional sound. Just wait until the end of that DJ Metatron set where the Air sample comes in.... 

 

Keaton Henson - Elevator Song (Ulrich Schnauss Remix) [Forerunners Bootleg]

 
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We'll soon celebrate ten years since ASIP began (2008-2018) and looking back these last few months, I'm reminded of a time when "blogging" was at its purest. The hunt for music didn't reside on social media alone, nor was it served up to you in feeds or through magic algorithms. Instead, you had to hunt high and low on the internet, often ending up on an artist's own cobbled-together website directory, or a select few music blogs (many of which are no longer around).

In fact one of those (you could say) 'blogs', XLR8R, is still around and offering up the same kind of service it did all those years back, hosting free downloads of individual tracks or under-the-radar indie remixes. Albeit more recently than the times we reference above, in 2014, they offered the brilliant Ulrich Schnauss remix of London based composer Keaton Henson's 'Elevator Song' as a free download. A beautiful remix that epitomized the sound and remixing capabilities of Mr Schnauss and brought that synonymous ethereal shine to the original. 

As we get back to our blogging routes (check out this and this as an example if you weren't following us all those years ago), we thought it'd be nice to continue the age of free downloads, by offering a remix, of that remix, by Forerunners (Brenden LaBonte) via Soundcloud. 

Arizona based Brenden and his Forerunners project heralds from a house and trance background (just check out his Soundcloud for many great examples), but we were originally connected due to his passion for ambient music. Stumbling across ASIP some years ago, and a supporter of the label, Brenden decided to send me this track to see if it was something I wanted to offer up to a wider audience.  At first, I hesitated but then I remembered why ASIP even exists and began all those years back - the joy of sharing great music. 

I am a passionate ambient fan and have been known to selectively rework, remix, and add production to some of my favorites so that I can fit them into live gigs or podcasts and share them with the world. This was exactly the intention I had for Elevator Song, and I think it came together well, at least for my purposes. Properly mastered and road-tested on dance floors worldwide, I felt like it was time to get this into the proper hands, electronic music fans who like myself would hopefully appreciate my humble take on an Ulrich masterpiece.
— Brended LaBonte / Forerunners

Now you all should know me by now too, as I have a soft spot for the more dance-floor oriented stuff of old, and this remix is nothing short of brilliant in the way it gradually builds upon the beautiful melodies both Keaton and Ulrich originally put into play.  

Both Brenden and I take great pleasure in presenting this to you all as a free WAV download below. Enjoy!

Forerunners Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Facebook

Original art by SIX37, @six37 on Instagram

 

Winterlight - The Longest Sleep Through The Darkest Days

 
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One of music's greatest powers comes in its ability to trigger memories. And as ASIP turns ten this year (ten-years since the very first blog post went up in 2008), it's harmonious that one of the first artists we featured way-back, releases a long awaited follow-up.

Listening to Winterlight's new album, I've got a giddy feeling of exploring not only Tim Ingham's music at the time, but the other music that made me tick around that time, too. It's  funny to think that only a very small percentage of you reading this now, remember hearing or reading about Winterlight all those years back. But for me, memories come flooding back.

Tim's sound as Winterlight remains a glistening, softly-told journey, portrayed and influenced by many years listening to post-rock and shoegaze music. Not much has changed in the seven years Tim has been away and his last album Hope Dies Last, apart from the inclusion of his daughter on bass, but this is a style of music that rarely comes about. By the sounds of things, it's been a tough journey for them both to see this one through, so for that, and for sticking to the sound many of us loved, I'm grateful to see another album come to fruition. 

As a comparison (which is arguably necessary if you're muttering shoegaze or post-rock influences), we often we see this kind of shoegaze/post-rock inspired ambient music descending into the more grandiose, orchestral side of things. With Hammock, for example, melding modern-classical elements, bigger drums, or soaring guitar leads on the more soundtracked moments. Tim keeps it simple and uplifting, with gentle ambient pads and  melodies built for stargazing. Drums are minimal and the bass a crucial accent, and structural focus is kept on the guitars. Progression comes in layers, instead of numerous additional instruments, slowly building palettes of sound around the lead chords.

Only then, three-quarters of the way through, do you realize Tim's music influences - as you look back to where the track started, he's turned a simple melody and subtle ambient sounds, into a full-blown wave of colorful shoegaze. 

Available on colored vinyl & digital at n5MD

Listen to Winterlight's isolatedmix, featuring Helios, port-royal, Slowdive Robin Guthrie and Crisopa. 

 

The National Pool - Relaxation Tape for Solo Space Travel

 
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Oh, Infraction... thank god for labels that continue to dig deep and present us with obscure, original and refreshing ambient music. There, that's all I need to say on this one, right?...

Ask any record-store that stocks a half-decent ambient collection (at least in the US), and the shop-owner will pay their respect to the quality of releases that Infraction stand behind. The label that brought us Parks, Offthesky & Pleq, Drape, Celer and many more, now unearth this Russian Cosmonaut inspired release by The National Pool

Harkening back to a time when the 'USSR' was an industrial power-house - when, "Our moon stations made their incredible flights! The atomic icebreaker was put into operation and the construction of the world's largest nuclear power plants is successfully happening", the release is like a half-speed black-and-white news video of the great successes and celebrations of the Russian people.

I can see the Cosmonauts boarding their aircraft, and the people waving their flags from the lookout deck. I picture the space shuttle leaving the Earth's orbit as the Cosmonauts looked at each other in disbelief, realizing the gravitas of their situation and the fact a whole nation is behind them - caught within a tin-can hurtling into pitch black nothingness. 

No wonder they needed a relaxation tape... 

So far, it sounds like a clear ambient cliché - and you're probably expecting space samples, radio interceptions and Russian distress signals. Whilst the release isn't devoid of these things, it goes several steps further in providing sometimes melancholic piano moments in Net Rain, and Gas inspired textures in Brick Cloud - Area 2, rounding out an incredible release that paints a truly vivid picture of a moment in time, all through the porthole of a USSR Cosmonaut, thousands of feet up in the air. 

Available on Bandcamp. 

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Ourson - Simple Sanctuary

 
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Luke Hazard, aka Ourson is one of our original ASIP finds, dating back to 2011 when we stumbled across one of his first albums, Warming Plant. This album still remains one of his strongest in my opinion and indeed my favorite (if only for the brilliant opener in, 237). However Luke's latest offering includes tracks from as far back as 2006, ensuring an overlap with the Warming Plant-production-era and a promise of similar-sounding textures. 

Whilst Ourson can also be heard capturing some amazing field recordings in 'Collected Natures', his latest album Simple Sanctuary gets back to the lo-fi, deep and textured recordings that made Warming Plant so special. Just like the artwork depicts, a very subtle, perhaps off-kilter edit on what would be a very innocent scene, Luke's music follows a similar suit. Extended drones harbor amongst echoes and reverb, with subtle melodies punctuating an otherwise dense blanket of rumbling bass, static and distant filed recordings. 

Whilst some tracks, like Gems Of The Dry Season, ring hope and light, others such as Sunbeams Through Treelines portray a more ghostly and ethereal sense. There's often a very deep, driving swell amongst Luke's music, pushing it along into (sometimes) deep-dubby-techno-territory, with  tracks such as We Fell (The Well) immersing the listener into a cloudier, more cotton-wool based Deepchord world. It all makes for a varied and emotional listening experience, invoking the kind of nostalgia you can only get from old equipment, and a musician with his ear to the ground. 

Luke calls is "sci-fi ambient for dusty basement tape decks", and to be honest, I couldn't put it better myself. 

Available on Bandcamp