Thursday, November 23, 2017

Liquid Zen - Liquid Zen

Waveform Records: 1999

I wonder if I'd have been so appreciative of Waveform Records' genre explorations had I kept following the label at the turn of the Millennium. Mind, part of the problem was my lack of access to their catalogue, stuck in the hinterlands of Canada, too young to 'Order With Credit Card' off the internet. I didn't even know if they were still releasing albums, and even if I did, would I have been as interested anymore? The names that drew me into Waveform were no longer around, and as a dude with limited funds, couldn't take willy-nilly chances on any ol' CD. Yeah, Waveform had exposed me to some of my all-time favourite musicians right out the gate, but no way they could have kept such a streak going, right?

Perhaps it was fortunate that when I finally did dip back into the label's output, it was with the sublime Omnimotion debut, because if it had been Liquid Zen instead, hoo boy, might I have wondered where Waveform was going. For sure it looks intriguing enough, a stark black cover with a blue neon ring the only source of light. The CD within is darn cool too, a deep blue that probably glows brilliantly in blacklight (I assume, I don't have one) – kinda' reminds me of the colour scheme used by that Wave Forum compilation. Makes one wonder if the Waveform was aware of it...

Then the first track Ultraviolet plays, and it's a nearly ten-minute long trip through downbeat ambience, with wide-screen dub, trippy flourishes, and ancient synths, coming off like a composition intended for an '80s space documentary. Cool, and certainly within Waveform's scope, but then second track Claiming Salvation hits, and it has jazzy overtones, opiod-dub, and lyrics like “Crystal kerosene, drips from your dainty fingertips.” Ah, we're doing trip-hop, then? Nope, third track Painter's Stroke Begins featuring cavernous, cold reverb, slinky synth-pop melodies, and muted spoken dialog like “Crucify beads and petals fall, the leaves broken through autumn's call.” Did I miss something, when did Liquid Zen turn into a 4AD outing?

And the genre jumping doesn't relent. Harold Atom is practically a psychedelic rock jaunt, but with acid replacing guitar jamming. Distant Fading Light actually brings in some fuzzed-out guitar tones. Kateri reaches deep into the well of Tangerine Dream synth noodling. Blown Away sounds like it could be a chill tune in a coldwave album, complete with bitter wind effects. Something is something alright, simple electro rhythms complemented with restrained Gothic melodies. A couple tracks do fit the Waveform mould, like the ambient dub of Starless and closer Forever Infinity, though even here with Liquid Zen's unique aesthetic. It's like if '90s Beck had somehow been roped into the psy-dub scene.

I can guarantee had I heard this new, I'd be questioning Waveform's future. In the here and now, however, I appreciate the label's willingness to give such an unknown quantity a chance. It's good having your comfort zones shaken every so often.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dido - Life For Rent

Arista: 2003

Dido already had a decent run of solo success by the year 2000. Even in an overstuffed '90s market of lady singer-songwriters, she managed a couple minor hits, not to mention an association with her big brother's super-mega popular club band Faithless didn't hurt her prospects either. Then her career went meteoric when Eminem sampled the charming ditty Thank You for an all-time classic cut in Stan. Not only did it break Dido to an entirely untapped young American demographic, but their moms too, who couldn't stand that potty-mouthed rapper but constantly inquired their sons about that one track with the catchy chorus. No joke, I had middle-aged women coming in my music shop buying The Marshall Mathers LP just for that Dido chorus alone. Fortunately for them, we soon 'found' a whole album of Dido music for them to enjoy, without all those gay-bashing, pop-celebrity slamming, girlfriend-murdering antics.

So No Angel went on to be a platinum-selling album in many countries, which naturally left expectations for her follow-up album sky-high. She smashed it, Life For Rent hitting the number one spot in several countries, lead single White Flag her best selling song by a mile (well, technically Stan is, but y'know). Honestly though, I think Ms. Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong lucked out a little, filling in the lady singer-songwriter gap that had emerged after many Lilith Fair alum had significantly retreated from the spotlight by 2003. There was still a market for light, folksy brunch-pop, just not as large as before. Might as well indulge in that UK lass who did the Thank You song – that White Flag is catchy enough, so the rest of Life For Rent should be just as good.

While I've enjoyed her contributions to Faithless tunes and whatever other projects her bro' Rollo's up to, I've only taken a passive interest in Dido's solo music. Maybe it's just how overplayed her hit singles ended up (dear Lord, was White Flag ever abused through the mid-'00s!), but I never felt the need to dig further into her album material. That said, I cannot deny some curiosity in how Rollo's production would translate into the folk-pop arena. The chap's always had a flair for the dramatic, but was equally capable of dialing things back for proper chill moments too. And there's plenty of examples of his touch in Life For Rent.

Yes, Dido's lyrics and guest guitarists generally take centre-stage (including Rick Nowels, Adam Zimmon, and Dave Randall). Scope out those dubby Balearic touches in Stoned though! Or the gentle, sweeping pads in See You When You're 40. Or the cavernous sonic depth in the mini-breakdown in Do You Have A Little Time. Or the trip-hop flourishes in Who Makes You Feel. Sand In My Shoes even has a minor, clubby build, though that's likely Sister Bliss' additional production at play. I know these aren't the things I'm supposed to focus on in a Dido album, but old habits, y'know?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Namlook • Montanà - Labyrinth 5

Fax +49-69/540464: 2012

The 2-Channel Stereo mix? Yeah, it's pretty dope, especially when I have my trusty Sennheiser cans on. Sounds are nicely spaced apart, well layered, pan from side-to-side as warranted, fade in the distance when called upon. I dunno though, I feel like I'm missing out on a critical component in how this is supposed to sound in DTS 5.1 Surround, as Namlook and Montanà envisioned their compositions while jamming away in Pete's studio. Or maybe the standard stereo is the proper take of Labyrinth, and the 5.1 is just a nifty (expensive) bonus for those with cutting-edge audio gear available. The technology is still rather niche, after all, only hardcore audiophiles having much interest or means of experiencing it, especially when most music is still released as 2-Channel stereo. Maybe if earplug and laptop speaker technology advances to such a degree that 5.1 is universally achievable, then we'll see more 5.1 masterings. Until then, music production should do as 3D does for home movies: it's there to utilize, and maybe the flick makes some cool use of it, but it shouldn't be a requirement for a 'full experience'.

So here we are, already at the end of the Labyrinth series, cut entirely too short by Pete Kuhlmann's passing. Who knows whether he and Lorenzo would have continued doing these at the same rate, but I've no doubt they'd still be making these to this date if they'd had the chance. Mr. Montanà's proven to be a prolific producer himself, and whenever Namlook found a New Best Music Buddy, he'd ride that creative synergy forever and a day. Unless ol' Pete got himself a different New Best Music Buddy, we could have been up to Labyrinth 10 now.

As it stands though, Labyrinth 5 is the last, and a solid final entrant it is. For one thing, no weird, off-putting acid bassline noise! (yeah, still can't get over it) The opening Path XXXII works a spacey, chill electro vibe, with all the familiar elements from Misters Namlook and Montanà in play for over fourteen minutes. This actually makes it the second longest track of the whole series, the first being the nineteen-plus minute long Path I opening the first album – most Paths average six to ten minutes, showing remarkable restraint given Namlook's history of long, noodly compositions, no matter who he's paired up with.

Path XXXIII lets Lorenzo's beatcraft stretch a little, with complementing Moog synths and charming bell tones. Path XXXIV gets darker and dubbier, using droning pads and burbling acid to great effect. A chipper Berlin-School styled cut marks Path XXXV, while Path XXXVI brings things closer to contemporary vibes, save some extended guitar diddling from Namlook. As the final Path, XXXVII doesn't have much going for it, a simple, chill tune more in Lorenzo's style than Pete's. A fine wrap-up for this particular album, but kinda' limp as a conclusion to the series. Not that Namlook and Montanà planned it as such.

Namlook • Montanà - Labyrinth 4

Fax +49-69/540464: 2011

Yeah, I caved on these. How could I not? I've said plenty that finding first run Fax+ albums in circulation is extraordinarily rare, so when I heard Lorenzo had actual hard copies of his Labyrinth sessions available through Bandcamp, you bet I scoped what was left. What I hadn't counted on was these being double-disc albums, presented in traditional stereo and DTS 5.1 audio. I knew Pete Namlook had taken a fancy to this supreme audiophile technology on some of his works, but didn't realize it was every album he worked on from as far back as 2006's Air V + Jeux Dangereux. He'd even started re-issuing ancient Fax+ catalogue in this format, as seasonal compilations called The Ambient Gardener. Guess that's one way to make extra bank on old material, but man, does it pinch paying for a format you have no means of hearing properly.

Anyhow, Labyrinth from Namlook and Montanà. Lorenzo had debuted on Fax +49-69/450464 with Black Ivy in 2009, and must have made quite an impression with Mr. Kuhlmann. Not only did the two immediately start collaborating, and not only did the resulting sessions generate five albums in a two year time span, but it also put Pete's endless sessions with Move D on the back-burner. Talk about your combo-breakers! I'm not sure why Namlook took such an instant interest in Montanà; just liked the cut of his beatcraft? Perhaps, Lorenzo's minimalist, unfussy ambient techno glitch unlike much of what Fax+ had been promoting the previous decade. Not that Mr. Montanà's take was entirely unique itself, but it must have been enough of a fresh sound for Namlook's ears to get his inspiration fired up again.

I have to say though, if you're just jumping into the Labyrinth series with volume 4 as I have, it may be off putting. Opening track Path XXVI starts with a weird, rubbery acid bassline and sparse, empty rhythms that sounds more like Plastikman than either of the players involved here. It's nearly two minutes before we hear melody in support, including choir pads and those vintage spaced-out synths that's been a Namlook staple since forever. The whole piece plays out in typical Fax+ meandering style, though comparatively 'short' at only twelve mintues in length. The sounds are nice, but man, I can't get over that out-of-place bassline. Path XXVII starts off with one too, but at least its accompanying sounds fit the odd tone better – rhythms chug at a dubby, chill techno pace, and oooh, Pete's breakin' out the guitar jams for this one.

The remaining Paths mostly keep to a similar feel, all rather spacious, dubby, and minimalist without ever going into dub techno's dry sterility. Path XXVIII gets a bit funkier, Path XXX more chill-out, and Path XXXI works in dubbed-out synth stabs that echo across the channels (bet this sounds great in 5.1!), but overall Labyrinth 4 is far too sparse in music to recommend beyond fans of this sound or Namlook completists.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Atrium Carceri - Kapnobatai

Cold Meat Industry/Cryo Chamber: 2005/2017

So Simon Heath reissued a bunch of his early Atrium Carceri albums on CD, which is nice, as those initial Cold Meat Industry runs are well out of print at this point. It kinda' feels like the project's come full circle now with Cryo Chamber, the label first set up, among other things, to offer digital downloads of those albums. Then it grew to include new projects, other artists, creative challenges, and a little extra swag on the side too. I suppose it was inevitable that Simon would rescue his original works for another run of CDs, waiting for a time such that their Cold Meat rights expired following that label's closure. As such, only his first three have been physically resurrected on Cryo Chamber, Cellblock, Seishinbyouin, and Kapnobatai. I've a feeling Reliquiae's gonna' take a little longer.

Heath's Atrium albums on Cold Meat were heralded because they blended older, industrial dark ambient aesthetics while suggesting a larger canvas than creepy weird music for its own sake. Such is the case with Kapnobatai, an album I picked up because I just gotta' find out what's the deal with that bizarre cover art. What is that, a mask? A demon head? An alien skull? The title itself offers no real clue, as it refers to cloud-dwelling, meditating shamans of Scythian descent, typically by way of burning cannabis flowers. The liner notes relay the inner monologue of an embittered individual as he surveys a land he and his ilk once ruled, only to have been overthrown by lesser sorts, now mocking him as they pass by. Pretty sure that was the whole point of crucifixions. Still no closer to discover what the deal with that cover image is though.

The opening tracks of Enclosed World/Liberation and Behind The Curtain Of Life definitely does bring me back to the early days of Delerium, with choir pads, unsettling synth sounds, and disembodied dialog samples. (yes, Delerium is about my only firm frame of reference when it comes to old school dark ambient) Impaled Butterfly takes things a step further, offering up copious amounts of anime dialog. I keep thinking it's from Cowboy Bepop, just because there's a brief harmonica tone among the sci-fi sound effects, marching rhythms and distorted pads. It probably isn't though, just because I'm fairly certain Kapnobatai isn't supposed to be a sci-fi album. Definitely plenty of industrial body-horror goings-on in later tracks though (Synaptic Transmission, Monolith Of Dreams, Stained Pipes, Thermographic Components, The Corrupter).

While there's elements of the 'cinematic drone' Heath would implement with greater frequency in later albums, Kapnobatai is still mostly playing by Cold Meat Industry's O.G. industrial rules. Which is fine if you prefer your dark ambient claustrophobic, dehumanizing, and horrific. Cryo Chamber showed me there was another way, one that could get introspective and strangely calming in the face of a bleak world (also, grand narratives!). Yeah, the label was hardly the first to do this, but it at least opened the door for yours truly.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lee Anthony Norris - Italian Works

...txt: 2014

First you find the free downloads from ever-awesome portals like Ektoplazm or Bandcamp, and you think it's fine, because you're not going back on your word about paying for MP3s. Then they start offering older, out-of-print items up for free download, for being so supportive of their efforts, and you go along with it because you're still not paying for MP3s. Then come the discounts on digital-only items, and you figure since those won't ever see a hard-copy release, what's the harm in indulging in those too? And before you know it, you've succumb to the seductive dance of digital consumerism. Not all at once, and not instantly to be sure, but here I am, a decade removed from an 'epic rant' on TranceCritic about never buying MP3s (never!), eagerly buying in. So it goes.

Anyhow, when Lee Norris set up his ...txt print, he spent much of that time also working on various musics with various musicians, flooding the ambient market with a ton of new albums in the process. I've even reviewed some of those (Autumn Of Communion, Moss Garden, Nacht Plank, that shorty Porya Hatami collaboration). Right, much of what I have covered mostly came care of Carpe Sonum Records, if only because their CD runs aren't quite as limited as ...txt's usually are. There's still a chunk of albums in this period that I haven't picked up, so when Mr. Norris provided a good-will free download of his 2014 2CD compilation Italian Works - essentially a summation of his work during this period – how could I refuse? It didn't matter I already had some of this stuff elsewhere, it's an out-of-print ambient double-LP, for free download! Can't... resist...

Along with the above mentioned projects, also within Italian Works are Ashtoreth's Gate (Norris and Craig Murphy), The Ashes Of Piemonte (Norris and Wil Bolton), Solipsism & Nacht Plank (Lee and Craig again), and The Angling Loser (Lee, Wil, Porya, Martin Hirsch, Shintaro Aoki, and Sir Cliff). Fifteen tracks comprise both CDs (or full download), ranging from three-and-a-half minutes to a couple twenty-plus minute compositions. It's also all arranged into a mix of sorts, though as we're dealing with ambient here, it's more like faded blends between tracks rather than any layering.

And if you're familiar with Norris' style of ambient in recent years, much of Italian Works shouldn't come of surprise. There's the stuff with field recordings coupled with gentle melodic meandering - The Angling Loser's Dawn, Ashes Of Piemonte's Ordained By Winter's Fire, Solipsism & Nacht Plank's Lush, Polite, Heroin... almost every track really. Other pieces get more droning and abstract (Ashtoreth's Gate's When We Return) or go wide-screen with layered pad work (Moss Garden's Daily Catachresis), but about the only real differences between everything is what unique aesthetics Norris' collaborator brings to the plate. It all makes for a tidy bluffer's guide to his recent output, but lacks the diversity to elevate it beyond more than a pleasant, diverting compilation.

Way Out West - Intensify

Nettwerk: 2001

Far as I'm concerned, Way Out West has always been that duo who supplied solid tunes to a solid progressive set, or could class up a cheesy trance set. But because their album output has been so sporadic (five in two decades!), the solo careers of Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff has generated more talk than the Way Out West legacy. For sure they had a brilliant run at the start, among the top rated acts in the nascent progressive house (trance/breaks) scene. Even then, however, it was clear they didn't need each other for sustainable careers. Mr. Warren was an established DJ on the UK circuit, while Mr. Wisternoff had a respectable discography under his belt before teaming up with Nick. Still, when they hit the studio back in the '90s, it was clear they had great synergy in crafting creative, deadly dancefloor weapons.

Success does create pressure in at least considering cross-over potential though, a tempting possibility for Way Out West following the turn of the Millennium. Like, if Hybrid could throw in a few vocals to critical plaudits, why not them as well? Surely folks would buy a collaboration with Kirsty Hawkshaw here, and a voice from Tricia Lee Kalshall there. And just in case their older followers weren't keen, you can win them over by sampling a bona-fide '90s classic in Coldcut's Autumn Leaves for the lead single in The Fall. That'll get those nostalgia triggers firing!

Shocking pilfering aside, The Fall is fine for what it is, a thumping prog-house anthem with a familiar hook to sing along to. Mindcircus was rather played out back in the day, but retains some charm all these years later, and Stealth works as a mid-album trip-hop breather. Really though, we're here for those propulsive prog-house/breaks (trance) cuts the Way Out West brand was built on, and the lads behind the moniker don't disappoint in the slightest. Activity's got a killer, clanking beat with a tasteful ethnic wail, Call Me works in a pounding prog groove, Hypnotise gets more floaty and break-beaty (paging Dr. Hybrid, yo'), and Sharkhunt... damn, is this ever some tasty-as-fuck sci-fi funk! It's a travesty this cut didn't get the EP treatment.

Okay, UB Devoid is a solid choice for “Big Banger Single From New Album”. It's almost doing a psy-trance thing for its first half, indulging in brief melodic passages, samples, and weird sounds for their own sake. The second-half goes down more traditional prog-house paths, but are mint in their own right. Can you believe this track's not even five-minutes long? Who crams that much music into a five-minute dance tune?

Finishing up, Secret hints at the burgeoning James Holden influences (grumbly low-end, twinkly highs), while the two-parter titular cut sums up most of the album's highlights. Unless you just can't stand prog-trance (breaks/house) of this era, there's nothing to fault with Intensify. It may not be as ground-breaking as their '90s output, but remains a great collection of tunes to this day.

Monday, November 13, 2017

36 - Hypersona

3six Recordings: 2009

With so many ambient artists on the market, it takes remarkable skill and ridiculous luck at cracking through the glut. I mean, after forty years of official existence (and some prior years of being called something else), how many unique angles are left in this genre? Even some of my present favourites typically tread territory covered by artists from the past, which isn't a bad thing by any stretch. Music genres become genres because of the familiar tropes that define them, relying on each musician's personal touch with established tools to distinguish themselves. Yet that may not be enough to get noticed, not without some serious sleuthing by dedicated diggers trawling for new material for their podcasts and blog hype. No, I'm not of that sort, usually content in letting others do the discovering for me. It's almost accidental if I happen across something none of my usual sources haven't yet.

I'd like to say Dennis Huddleston's 36 project (remember, that's “three-six”) is one such example, but that's not quite the case. While hunting for examples of contemporary ambient regarding Guide 3.0 matters, I was checking some 'Best Of' lists from Discogs users, and 36's debut album Hypersona was coming up a fair bit. He was still fairly new then, only a couple years removed from self-releasing this record, but the buzz was palpable. After plucking a sample, I made a mental note to check his stuff further, and didn't get around to that again until this past year. Um, oops?

Well, better late than never (and before physical copies are sold out!), but yes, Hypersona definitely is the sort of album that deservedly cracked that thick ambient soup, floating to the top in the guise as a tasty bit of garnish in the bowl. See, Mr. Huddleston had a trick up his sleeve that helped him stand out from the pack, making sure you heard what his music had to say, and would want to hear more from him from then on out. Within the first five minutes of this album, which includes three tracks of Signal, 2249, and Inside, you're met with a rush of nostalgic, melancholy melodies and dreamy synth-pad layers that reach deep into your chest, rip your heart out, and forces sweet tears of blissful innocence into that gaping hole where your soul lies.

Okay, I'm laying the uber-hyperbole thick there, but conventional ambient album construction dictates these sort of tunes are reserved for closing numbers, melodic denouements after being led on an emotional journey. Yet here's 36 saying, “Nuts to that, I'm gonna' hit you in the heart-strings early and hard.”

And don't think Hypersona's front-loaded, equally evocative tunes cropping up throughout the album, just with different variations. The Box adds ethereal voices, Nephyr does the white-washed dub-drone thing, Juliet gets abstract with crackly radio chatter, and Forever is insanely grand, opulent, and lush. That, my friends, is how you get a debut ambient album noticed in this scene.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Oak Ridge Boys - Hymns & Songs, Volume II

Verus Records: 2001

Hey-yo, Past Peoples, 2073 Sykonee back already again. I know, I know, this is growing ridiculous, how many times I've done this already. I warned myself this was a nigh futile endeavour, reviewing cheap options for Oak Ridge Boys albums. A group with as much history as this one, which saw remarkable commercial success after transitioning from gospel to country, will have its extensive catalogue pilfered for credit-ins based on name recognition alone. Never mind their Nauty-Eighties material had nothing to do with their Nauty-Sixties material (even the familiar members hadn't yet become their iconic selves), if there's unsuspecting fans eager for more Oak Ridge Boys music, the dozens of olden recordings are there to fill the gaps, with any number of cheap-o labels licensing out a dozen songs in bare-bones presentation. Even in my time, with the vast webclouds we have, I still don't think every Oak Ridge Boys release has been accounted for. What hope does my past self have?

This one though, this Hymns & Songs collection, this is different. There's actual care taken with these vintage recordings, remastered and even enhanced beyond the capabilities of the original hardware. Not some slap-dasherdly clutch at Americana dollars, but a resurrection of The Oak Ridge Boys' heritage. Capturing the feeling of being within a real rural church in a bygone era, sitting front and centre in the pews, a lead singer to the left of you, the harmonizing trio to the right, and piano or organ or guitar players just in the background. Every voice distinct and separate, not the usual mono-mush so many of these compilations settle for. Heckles, even the vinyl crackle is captured, because I assume the original records were the only sound source this company had to work with. And believe in me, they dug up some ancient recordings.

Ten songs are on Hymns & Songs Volume II, the bulk of which originally come from a 1962 record called He Whispers Sweet Peace To Me on Skylite. A few more were plucked from the 1958 record The Solid Gospel Sound Of The Oak Ridge Quartet. Yessiree, we're dealing with the Boys before they'd even rebranded themselves as Boys - tenor “Little” Willie Wynn was the new kid on this block! And let me tell you, it took some serious sleuthing through your archaic interactive datanet to figure this out. It's astounding just how many gaps in knowledge your version of Wikis and Oggs still have. Imagine having a Britannica without Rasta-Pasta or Dragon nests!

As I've done told yous all before, our enjoyment of The Oak Ridge Boys/Quartet mostly stems from decoding their Atomic codes wrapped in religious harmonies. Yes, they're singing about Literal Jesus, but what is Jesus to any of us but a representation of our noblest deeds in the face of our cruellest actions? When stacked against so many Oak Ridge Boys bone pickers, whoever took such care recreating these recordings is a Jesus to any audiophile, whatever the content within contains.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Various - Home

Spiritech: 2014/2017

Though Spiritech was primarily an outlet for Lingua Lustra and BlueBliss material, they did bring in a couple outside artists too. Data Rebel, Rainbow Vector, Textural Being, Dark Passenger, Snufmuumriko, 0ther... Okay, so we aren't exactly dealing with a roster of well-known producers. Heck, I sometimes feel Albert Borkent only got noticed in the world of ambient through sheer force of will, or at least flooding the digital market with dozens of Lingua Lustra EPs. That's the cynical take though, and I'd rather take the positive take, where the dude is just a workaholic, and understands any hope of getting your name out there in the world of ambient requires releasing music at a ridiculous clip, lest you are lost in the sea of other workaholics. That, or luck out with a record or two on Very Important prints of the scene (which he done did with Databloem).

Getting outside contributions for Spritech didn't hurt though, smatterings of EPs and compilations finding their way into the label's discography throughout its short run. This here Home was one of the few such compilations to get an actual physical release, just this past year in fact. Why this one in particular, I don't know. Far as I can tell, a digital version was originally released back in 2014, and several more were released through Spiritech's Bandcamp since, many of which free (or Name Your Price deals). The liner notes mention Home being dedicated to Mr. Borkent's mother, so perhaps this one has more personal connection for Lingua Lustra, thus more deserving of a spiffier roll-out compared to all the other compilations.

Seven tracks comprise Home, two of which are from Lingua Lustra, natch. The opener Time Window clocks the longest too, a shade under fifteen minutes, mostly minimalist space ambience with echoing tones being sent deep into cosmic realms. Moorland comes off a little more grounded, New Agey spritely synths pitter-pattering in the background, followed upon by lush pads for a moving bit of music; throughout it all, whispery effects guide you along like ghosts.

So Mr. Borkent's material is good stuff, of which wasn't in doubt. How about the rest, then? What does the likes of Shambala Networks, Tonauac, and Reality Sandwich offer? Ultra-minimalist drone, melancholy pad ambient with strings, and blippy ambient techno, respectively. The latter two also have very little to their names within Lord Discogs' archives, at least beyond anything Spiritech related. Then again, the label's catalogue's looking mighty thin compared to their Bandcamp; needs an updating, methinks.

Two other tracks come care of a Markus Guentner and John Daly, both some of the emptiest drone I've ever heard, though Mr. Guentner does add an extra layer of dub warmth. He's also garnered quite the cult following, which isn't too surprising as he's Kompakt alumni. This John Daly though, is it the same Irishman who's been doing house and techno for a decade now? Because his D1 is nothing of the sort. A strange contributor for Spiritech if so.

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Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 20xx Update 2562 302 Acid 36 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Theory Alio Die Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquascape Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asian Dub Foundation Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autistici Autumn Of Communion Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Berlin-School Beto Narme bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records braindance Brandt Brauer Frick breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes Calibre calypso Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Cocoon Recordings Coldcut Coldplay Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cor Fijneman Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmos Studios Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cube Guys Culture Beat cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkside darkstep darkwave Darren McClure Databloem David Bickley David Guetta David Morley DDR Deadmau5 Death Row Records Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit DFA DGC diametric. Dido Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Distinct'ive Breaks Disturbance DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dopplereffekt Dossier downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune Dusted Dynatron E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast EastWest Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News Ektoplazm electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta Epic epic trance Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal Etnoscope euro dance Eurythmics Eve Records Everlast Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Fallen fanfic Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Firescope Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly fsoldigital.com Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Gaither Music Group Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards Grey Area grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru GZA Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Inner Ocean Records Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Island Records Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Jack Moss Jafu Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jiri.Ceiver Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf KuckKuck Kurupt L.S.G. Lab 4 Ladytron Lafleche Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Leon Bolier LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Liquid Zen Live live album Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Masotto Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Loud Records Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Mali Mammoth Records Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Memex Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Method Man Metroplex Metropolis Miami Bass Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mixmag Mo Wax Mo-Do MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Moss Garden Motech Moving Shadow Mujaji Murmur Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystica Tribe N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nashville Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neotropic nerdcore Nervous Records Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller Northumbria Nothing Records NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nurse With Wound NXP Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard Olan Mill old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Canvas Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Orla Wren Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ouragan OutKast Outpost Records Overdream Paleowolf Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Benisch Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pink Floyd PJ Harvey Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platipus Plump DJs PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep Prince Prins Thomas Priority Records Profondita prog prog psy prog-psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Raekwon Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant RareNoise Records Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry Refracted reggae remixes Renaissance Rephlex Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records RetroSynther Reverse Alignment Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Riley Reinhold Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Hood Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Signature Records SiJ Silent Season silly gimmicks Silver Age Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simple Records Sinden single Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records ska Skin To Skin Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment soul Soul Temple Entertainment Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller Space Manoeuvres space synth Spank Rock Special D speed garage Speedy J Spicelab Spiritech spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Lawler Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Substance Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak swing Switch Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Tayo tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Oak Ridge Boys The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Warp Timecode Tobias Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Tool Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Troum Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U2 Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage Ultimae Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Music UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Verus Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Vitalic vocal trance Wagram Music Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Wave Recordings Waveform Records Wax Trax Records Way Out West WEA Weekly Mini-Review Werk Discs Werkstatt Recordings White Swan Records William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yello Yes Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zomby Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq