Jan Wagner - Nummern

 
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The album notes describe the atmosphere at play perfectly - a room set-up, mics, windows flung open. What starts as a simple cymbal, or an undercurrent of synthesizers, soon transforms this dusty space into a world of flowing colors, rushing through the air.

Delicacies of modern classical music combine with the subtle elements of jazz, and synthesizer in Jan Wagner’s new album ‘Nummern’, one of my favorite releases this year.

It’s a release that’s varied in elements, but comes together as a perfect whole, in a way that Nils Frahm’s Spaces in 2017 did - combining a beautiful juxtaposition of traditional elements, field recordings and dusty electronics.

Jan can be delicate in Nummer A, dramatic in Nummer I, channel Jon Hopkin’s-esque energy in Nummer G, or deep and engrossing in album closer Nummer N. The consistency is found in his ability to do so much with so little. Each track features only one or two main elements, but his strength in melody and progression, creates worlds akin to a dramatic movie score, or, like the album notes began to describe, a simple cozy studio in Berlin, with an instrumental alchemist at the ready…

Picture a cozy atelier / studio where all the windows are flung open, a pair of mics set to high gain hang in front of a piano, and the door to the space is locked. The thing is, if he’s going to play, the door has to be locked. A click track pops away relentlessly in the headphones, measuring off time. A seemingly insurmountable feeling rattles the bones, and with every chord which fills the room and spills out into the courtyard it’s slowly taking on tangible shape. It’s being released and translated, completely impromptu. The room tone, the kids playing in the backyard causing a raucous, the cat perched on the window sill about to jump off (making a thud), the creaking chair, the sound of the mallets and all the percussive, mechanical guts of the piano – everything that the mics pick up becomes part and parcel of the composition, and will eventually be woven into the very fabric of the finished full length.

Available on Bandcamp.

 

Full Circle Anniversary and Charity Compilation: now available

We’re very excited to share with you our ten year anniversary compilation titled, Full Circle. This has been well over a year in the making and was due to be released on the exact anniversary of August 26th, (the date of the first blog post in 2008), but due to our need to get a perfect press, it has been delayed a little until now.

The music presented in this compilation is probably the closest distillation of what has inspired ASIP over the past ten years. The ASIP website and its many versions; blog posts; guest mixes; even some of the older archived (now hidden) posts, were revisited to find the perfect tracks to put forward.

There was however, a few limitations in mind: (1) It had to be a track previously written about or featured in some capacity on ASIP from 2008-2018. (2) The track has previously not been released on vinyl. (3) The artist isn’t currently a part of the ASIP label family.

The end result isn’t a compilation of rarities, b-sides or label exclusives that you may have expected at a typical ten year milestone. Instead, it’s a compilation of music that has helped define ASIP as many people know it today. From drone and space ambient; to shoegaze inspired guitars; nostalgic electronica and melodic synthesizer music, Full Circle presents many of the elements that have been captured over the past ten years on A Strangely Isolated Place.

Pressed into the grooves of this record is some of the finest music to grace my ears that I felt passionate enough to feature on ASIP in the past, and now once more on vinyl - Ryan.

To help celebrate the occasion, all profits from this compilation will go to a charity called The Harmony Project: www.harmony-project.org. We felt that investing in and helping the next generation of potential musicians would be a fitting tribute to the overall concept of the release.

In more ways than one, we’ve come full circle.

For more information, links to buy and listen see the release page.

Thank you to all of the artists, labels and everyone involved in bringing this to life.

isolatedmix 82 - Ocoeur

 
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It was 2013 when Franck Zaragoza’s beautiful electronic debut for n5MD grabbed our attention and secured itself as one of the years finest releases. Since then, Franck and his Ocoeur project, has continued on the label with three more albums - his latest, ‘Inner’ landing just last month on gold vinyl.

Looking back at Ocoeur’s evolution on n5MD over the past five years, there’s been a continual shift in approach, perhaps mimicking fast-paced life itself, or simply a natural progression and refinement in Franck’s sound. Whether purposeful or accidental, it’s evident Franck is continually in search of honing and perfecting his sound.

2013’s ‘Light As A Feather’ was, ironically, the deepest of Franck’s productions - rooted in electronica, and containing tracks that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a dimly lit warehouse party, alongside more refined listening moments that were just a taster of what was to come over the next few years.

‘Reversed’ saw Franck lean further into the instrumental and modern classical side of his productions, with elegant piano and string moments, affirming his place as a master of atmospheres and a dab-hand should a big soundtrack offer come knocking at his door one day.

2018’s ‘Inner’ perhaps, by design and title, is Franck’s most introspective piece, with slow, burning, soaring synths that wouldn’t be out of place on a Blade Runner score, but without the expected assault of Hans-Zimmer-esque synth-splurges. Instead, Franck’s sound comes from the modern classical world in the truest of simple, delicate and sublime senses.

The comparison in five years alone shows how much Franck has to offer within his production arsenal, with each album somehow, succeeding the last.

For his isolatedmix, Franck has leaned on his own productions alongside complimentary inspirations that help portray a dream-like hour of ambience, dotted with highs and lows - demonstrating some of the many emotions Franck has continually painted over the past five years. Without even listening, seeing the likes of Murcof, Rauelsson and Cliff Martinez, alongside Ocoeur’s own productions within the track list should indicate how delicate and considered this mix is.

Download

Tracklist:

01. Zinovia Arvanitidi - Invisible
02. Ocoeur - In The Starlight - Pixys
03. Cliff Martinez - He Had a Good Time
04. Disasterpeace - Formations
05. Jessica Curry - Dear Esther - Always (Hebridean mix)
06. Ocoeur - Unseen
07. SineRider - Alouette
08. Murcof - Uri
09. Ocoeur - Passage
10. Ocoeur - Time Over (Rework)
11. Ocoeur - Mother
12. Rauelsson - Arrows
13. Ocoeur - Echo
14. Deru - Drink It In
15. Brian Eno & Harold Budd - Late October

Ocoeur | n5MD | Soundcloud | Facebook

 

todos: Ten Years of A Strangely Isolated Place

 
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The impossible task. Find a way to summarize the last ten years of music featured on the A Strangely Isolated Place blog and website.

First off, we have created the ‘tagged’ project, listing some of the hundreds of artists featured on the blog for you to explore over here. And pretty soon, we’ll have a special release for you all.

But I also wanted something that was closer to our blog beginnings, and a story told through a mix. What better way than tasking our favorite journey-maker, todos.

todos and his Kilchurn Sessions have been a staple of ASIP over the past ten years. We’ve even collected them all in one place, given how many posts they ended up spanning. I don’t need to add many superlatives about him here, but they are some of the best recorded mixes I have ever heard. And I mean it. You can hold-up (my personal favorite) professional mixed CD’s by Sasha, or James Holden for example, and I would be just as pleased listening to some of todos’ Kilchurn Sessions. He has a knack, a perfection and an obsession with mixing unique journeys that span everything from ambient, electronic, techno and instrumental elements, alongside a unique use of samples and movie quotes. He creates familiar and emotive narratives that need multiple revisits to appreciate the detail, skill and passion he put in.

Once todos agreed to my ask (nearly a year-ago now) I sent him the archive of posts from the old site, and a list of all the tags used across both new and old. My only criteria was that he needed to select tracks from artists or albums that were a part of that list - an attachment to ASIP and the blog. He had hundreds to sift through, some known, some new to him.

I don’t know how he did it.

I do know it was a headache for him, for months, but what he turned in, was something well beyond my expectations. He went through many iterations and different approaches, trying to do one chronologically in the order they were featured on ASIP for example, sending me revisions up until the very last minute, but in the end, he managed to find a selection of tracks that truly reflect the past ten years of discovery here on ASIP. And in a style only he knows how to execute.

A big BIG thank you to todos for soundtracking ASIP all these years. And for this, a superb piece of no-doubt painstaking work to help us celebrate ten-years of existence.

Once you’re done listening here, check out our ‘tagged’ project to explore even more.

Download MP3

Download WAV

~

Ten years of A Strangely Isolated Place - mixed by todos

Tracklist:

1. Minilogue - ‘Yesterday Bells’ edit (2008)/ Grzegorz Bojanek - A Huge Explosion After The War’ edit (2017)

2. Altus - ‘Virgo’ edit (2013) / Little Dragon - ‘Twice’ edit (2008) / Lights Out Asia - ‘Except Europa’ edit (2010)

3. Herbstlaub - ‘Softly hidden she.’ (Stray Theories remix) (2016)

4. Stellardrone - ‘Pale Blue Dot’ (2010)

5. Freescha - ‘Kite High’ (2009)

6. Benjamin Dauer - ‘Harmony Bound’ (2011) / Rhian Sheehan - ‘Standing In Silence Part 1’ edit (2010)

7. Jon Hopkins - ‘Private Universe’ (2008) / Opus III - ‘It’s A Fine Day’ edit (2009)

8. Sasha - ‘Broadcast’ (2016)

9. Umber - ‘Tomorrow We'll Throw Out Some Old Shoes’ (2011)

10. Kiyoko - ‘Sea of Trees’ (2012)

11. Bjorn Rohde - ‘Forest of Forgotten Hearts’ (2013) / Nils Frahm - ‘Peter’ (2013)

12. Jason van Wyk - ‘Eyes Shut’ (2017)

13. Roel Funcken - ‘Android Robson’ (2016)

14. Synkro - ‘Midnight Sun’ (2015)

15. Martin Nonstatic - ‘Open Minded’ (2015) / Aphex Twin - ‘Rhubarb’ (2009)

16. Sonitus Eco - ’Storegga Slide’ (2015)

17. Vermont - ‘Übersprung’ (2014)

18. Ocoeur - ‘Resonance’ (2013) / Sigur Ros - ‘Takk’ (2011) / Carbon Based Lifeforms - ‘Intro’ / ‘Hold’ (2014)

19. Donnacha Costello - ‘That Empty Feeling’ (2011)

20. Rhian Sheehan - ’Sileo’ (2013)

21. Markus Guentner - ‘Baryon’ (Feat. The Sight Below) edit (2015) / Porya Hatami - ‘Fen’ (By Segue) edit (2015)

22. Tegh - ‘Down’ (2014)

23. Arovane - ‘Woven’ (Peter Benisch Remix) edit (2015)

24. John Beltran - ‘Seasons Go’ (2013)

~

Includes audio recordings taken in and around USA, Germany, UK, Italy, Poland, Australia, Netherlands and Japan.

Special thanks to Ryan, Marcel, Eiko, Spencer and James for the support and sending me snippets of your own strangely isolated places. It was a pleasure incorporating them into this mix.

*Years indicate when tracks were featured on ASIP, not necessarily when they were released*

Artwork by ASIP, containing elements from Mario Morales and Nick Brzostowski.

 

Discover: Ten Years of A Strangely Isolated Place #tagged

 
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Since 2008, we've been discovering some of our favorite ambient, experimental and electronic music here on A Strangely Isolated Place. With over ten years of blog entries, there have been hundreds of artists included over the years, either as individual features, as part of mixes or as part of the wider ASIP community of releases and isolated mixes.

To help celebrate this milestone, we’ve compiled some of the most used blog tags in one place (462 to be exact).

This project helps celebrate ten years of ASIP and aims to continue the theme of discovery, helping you find artists you might enjoy. This will act as a hand-curated, living, breathing project, updated with new artists, new music and some hidden surprises, starting from today. (Hopefully, some new functionality one day soon!)

The ‘grid’ was designed loosely so that artists in all directions of, or the surrounding area of each artist, would be of similar sound or style, or at the very least complimentary to each other. It works better in some places than others, but hopefully you get a sense of the different styles as you navigate around.

As an example, the pioneers of ambient music are in the middle and it expands outwards from there, highlighting how this genre can adapt and evolve into many different evolutions: Electronica (bottom right); modern classical (top left); dub-techno (middle-left); shoegaze and post-rock (top-middle-right); techno (bottom) and many more pockets can be found throughout, all while staying connected in some way or another.

Find an artist you like and work your way up, down, left or right to discover something new.

It’s the anti-machine-curated omnidirectional playlist, if you like.

In most instances, we try and link to our favorite Bandcamp album so you can support the artist directly, but some will link to tracks on youtube, or a related ASIP feature.

Don’t forget, you might stumble across a few hidden few surprises behind some of those artists.

The page is best viewed on desktop. Viewing on mobile will default to the Google Sheets version to keep the best scroll functionality.

Go! > astrangelyisolatedplace.com/tagged

~

If anyone has mad web skills and is interested in developing this project any further please get in touch.