Saturday, October 22, 2016

Northumbria - Helluland

Cryo Chamber: 2015

I’ve covered so many forms of dark ambient from Cryo Chamber, I should take stock on whether I’m missing any. There’s space drone, for sure, and abstract drone near alongside it. Can’t forget the post-apocalyptic trip, nor the various excursions into realms of the occult. Moody synths, bleak widescreen dub, creepy field recordings, eerie musique concrete abstraction, cinematic sound design – that’s about all there is to dark ambient’s palette, right?

Not at all, as we’re still missing out on a pair of the scene’s classic components: old school industrial decay and sludgy doom metal drone. I touched on the latter one some two years ago now (!!), wherein metal’s morbid tendencies transplanted quite nicely into dark ambient’s domain, heavy guitar tones stretched out with reverb and feedback into a near-impenetrable fog of sound. And while some of the artists I’ve covered on Cryo Chamber have come from such backgrounds, none have made it their primary style, instead using synths and field recordings for their constructed soundscapes. Not this Northumbria duo though, fully embracing guitars for one of the least electronic sounding albums of dark ambient I’ve yet come across on this label. It only took me twenty-three CDs to get there.

Northumbria is comprised of Dorian Williamson and Jim Field, both of whom have floated around goth and sludge metal scenes for a while now. Jim Field even saw a little success with Sue Hotton as Rhea’s Obsession, their brand of darkwave finding them a home on industrial print Metropolis Records. Sometime in the recent past, the two met, discovering they had that all-elusive creative synergy so many musicians are in perpetual search of (other Holy Grails: the perfect beat, major label deals that won’t fuck you over). Their doom metal drone powers combined, Misters Field and Williamson started releasing music on a number of scattered dark ambient and post-metal prints. This included albums on labels like Consouling Sounds, thisquietarmy Records, and Altar Of Waste, plus compilation contributions to Futuresequence, Dipsomaniac Records, and Kalpamantra. Hm, seems a lot of Cryo Chamber guys have also released music on Kalpamantra. Are we looking at a sister print situation here, like Beyond and Waveform? Coo’ if so.

All these words spent on the background, and little left to detail Northumbria’s debut on Cryo Chamber, Helluland. Ah, well, that’s because there isn’t much to say. Guitar drone is generally vague and nondescript, all about the mood it conveys. And the mood be very melancholic indeed (Still Waters, Door Made Of Light, Song For Freyja, Catch A Falling Knife I); other times more sinister and foreboding (Sacred Ground, Maelstorm, Catch A Falling Knife II). Beyond these implied titles and moods though, I feel like these pieces could support nondescript art house films of chilly moors or foggy waterfronts. Or watching spiders weave their webs in the glow of dim street lights while waiting at a RAV line stop. Okay, that one’s super-specific, but damn if it didn’t suit the little scene I watched unfold.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Various - Hed Kandi: Deeper

Hed Kandi: 2001

With deep house getting commercial love again, I felt an itch. Not a deep itch, mind you; one nestled just under the epidermis. Still, a casual finger flick of a scratch would not suffice, a small amount of digging required. I tried and tested brand, catering to pop ‘n soul sensibilities without getting ultra-submerged in scene purity. Tunes suited for lazy-relaxin’ home times, lounge club wining and dining, nightmarish clothing boutique shopping, or soundtracking a promotional gentrified enclave vid’. A light vibe, a stylish vibe, a name you always know what to expect with just a glance of the track list. Unfortunately, there were no Naked Music or Om Records CDs in the used shop that day. Ah well, guess I’ll give this Deeper from Hed Kandi a shot. About time I got something from that label anyway.

For those who’ve never ventured into a CD shop before, Hed Kandi carved out a distinct identity on the compilation racks, with super stylish cover art unlike anything else on the UK market. When the label first appeared at the turn of the century, said market was primed for a label like this one, capturing the interest of a maturing clubbing audience just coming off the first throes of superclub ecstasy bedlam. They were moving on from hard house and trance, thus sexy house tunes coupled with sexy artwork were an easy sell for the casual consumer. Flood the market with multiple series of various takes on your musical manifesto (Nu Cool, Disco Kandi, Beach House, Winter Chill, Twisted Disco), and you’ve cornered the compilation corner in every music chain store for years to come. Heck, I probably would have picked one of these up back in the day too, if it weren’t for those outrageous import prices (forty bones for two discs of decent house? Pass).

Deeper was Hed Kandi’s stab at getting deeper with their house offerings, which probably seems redundant on the surface but then the label wasn’t one to let any potential angle go untapped. CD1 sticks to deep house, with names like The Rurals, Miguel Migs, Lisa Shaw, Kevin Yost, A:xus, and New Phunk Theory getting repped. There’s more, but I honestly know nothing about Silent Poets, Aquanote, or Laid, though they do hold their own with the recognizable artists here. Predictably, the vocals are soulful, the rhythms groovy, and the piano/organ/saxophone solos tasteful. It’s exactly the sort of deep house I was expecting from this set, perfectly worth the used shop price I paid for it.

CD 2 was what initially caught my eye though – well, after the striking cover art. The deep vibes go a little tribal and proggy here, including a Deep Dish rub of Dusted’s Always Remember To Respect And Honour Your Mother (aka: lovely Rollo side project). Masters At Work show up too, as does Kings Of Tomorrow, Steve Lawler, PQM, and, um, Rui Da Silva (no guesses on which track of his). Not as consistent as CD1, but definitely more fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Omni Trio - The Haunted Science

Moving Shadow: 1996

The only Omni Trio album you’re supposed to have, even if you’re not an Omni Trio fan. Mind you, my sources for this proclamation is entirely predicated upon which singles have the longest legacy within Rob Haigh’s career. For sure every junglist worth their hoodie knows of Renegade Snares, the single that broke Omni Trio out of the darkcore scene. Who knew jungle could sound so calm and pleasant with charming piano hooks? More than enough to help kick-off the ‘atmospheric’ side of jungle. Which lead to ‘intelligent’ records, and refined tastes melding with ‘jazz’, while losing the frenetic rave roots in favor of a stripped-back ‘tech’ approach to the craft. All this, and drum ‘n bass too.

Though The Haunted Science technically isn’t Omni Trio’s first LP, it may as well be his proper debut album, prior The Deepest Cut more a collection of earlier singles and remixes. This one also features a number of tracks that would become workhorses in the compilation and DJ mix field, their only rival the aforementioned Renegade Snares (because obviously). Part of this probably was due to timing, The Haunted Science coming out in ’96, a very good year for d’n’b’s commercial and critical ventures. While Omni Trio didn’t get quite the same degree of praise and plaudits as your Goldies or Roni Sizes or Photeks or LTJ Bukems, he was always in the discussion of Very Important Drum ‘n Bass Guys, his records necessary weapons in any self-respecting DJ’s crate. Even the ardent ‘ardcore sorts would make room for an Omni Trio cut.

As for the big singles off The Haunted Science, we get three essential tunes: Trippin’ On Broken Beats, Who Are You, Nu Birth Of Cool, and Haunted Kind. Wait, that’s four? Sorry, personal perspective throwing things a little askew, that last one always slipping me by, probably because it’s more a trip-hop thing than d’n’b. Lord Discogs tells me Haunted Kind did significant compilation duty though, and who am I to dispute The Lord That Knows All?

The first three, however, were such major tracks in the Omni Trio canon, that we get two versions of each on this album! The jazzy Trippin’ On Broken Beats is easily the most famous of these singles, even appearing on Paul Oakenfold’s Live In Oslo mix when the trance jock was working a little jungle class into his sets. Who Are You is pure groovy bliss, but Aquasky takes it down de-e-eep tech-step roads with sub-bass to die for. Nu Birth Of Cool carries on the Renegade Snares tradition of funky licks, piano kicks, and peppy vocal samples, while the Rogue Unit Mix takes it into rougher jungle pastures.

The rest of The Haunted Science plays to Omni Trio’s established strengths: spacious elegant beatcraft, impossibly cool jazz vibes, and an atmosphere of endless ecstasy. Maybe not as genre-defining as other works of the time - you know what you’re getting with this album - but damn does it ever deliver.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fear Factory - Genexus

Nuclear Blast Entertainment: 2015

I didn’t think I’d return to Fear Factory. Demanufacture is a bona-fide industrial metal classic that throws enough cyborg bones to my techno sensibilities that I can return to it plenty times over, and maybe I’ll pick up Obsolete should I find it on the cheap, but I had little need to dig further into the band’s material. Besides, general consensus is they’ve essentially fixated on their singular style that made them famous, all the while having personnel issues as members leave, return, and all the typical turmoil that comes with metal egos clashing. Not good developments if you want to stay relevant. They sorted their shit out though, eventually reconvening with most of the original band intact, and appear on the resurgence again. Not because they’ve adapted with changing trends to fit with modern times, oh no. They’re sticking to their phased plasma rifles, but sounding more confident in who they are and what their music entails.

Thus, taking a browse in what Fear Factory had been up to in recent years, I discovered a new album called Genexus, and that it was being hailed as their best since Demanufacture - some even claimed it better than that seminal record! It definitely has the same sonic markers: machine rhythms firing like gatling guns, vocalist Buron C. Bell doing his vintage growling verse/clean singing chorus thing, all marinated with electronic treatments from Rhys Fulber. The topics remain fixated on future shock industrialization, mechanical societies stripping away our humanity, resisting the inevitable cyborg apocalypse, and all that good stuff. I mean, if you’ve heard Zero Signal - and any metal fan or Mortal Kombat disciple should have by now – you’ve heard a good chunk of Genexus.

This is everything we’d want in a Fear Factory album anyway. The band carved out a unique niche, and despite a few metal groups co-opting it in the two decades since, nothing comes close to sounding like these guys when they’re firing on all cylinders. And while I haven’t taken in much of their material since Demanufacture, I’m told this is one of their most melodic records ever. It definitely sells the more melodramatic aspect of their style, tracks like Autonomous Combat System, Protomech, Anodized, Battle For Utopia, and especially Regenerate laying the supporting synths on thick. Hey, you won’t see me complaining about this – far as I’m concerned, Fulber’s contributions remain one the best parts of a Fear Factory tune, giving them their distinct character above so much death metal out there.

Though Genexus is nearly balls-to-sprockets thrash all the way through, they do mix things a little in terms of tempo, tracks like Soul Hacker and Church Of Execution going for more groove metal action instead. Meanwhile, final track Expiration Date offers an epic ‘ballad’, which I can honestly say I never expected from this band. I’ve heard creepy, industrial ambient sections from them, but a full track of Bell forgoing his usual growl? Wonders never cease! Genexus definitely deserves the praise it’s gotten.

Monday, October 17, 2016

enCAPSULAte - Fetal Position

Waveform Records: 2013

If I’m gonna’ splurge on new stuff from Favorite Labels, I might as well do the same for one of my first Favorite Labels. Only trouble is Waveform Records barely releases much of anything anymore, instead focusing on their Starseeds radio show. And even when they do put a record out, it’s almost always something from Sounds From The Ground or ZerO One - whom I do like but it’s nice hearing from other artists as well. Whatever happened to those heady, early ‘00s days, when Waveform was releasing material from all manner of names (Bluetech! Omnimotion! Phutureprimitive! Pitch Black [nz]! Skin To Skin!). I realize the record label business is a harsh mistress, and all things considered it’s remarkable Waveform’s endured for over two decades when ‘market domination’ or whatever was never on their minds. They could benefit from a couple more fresh signees though; maybe someone making dub beats lurking on one of their new Hawaiian island neighbours?

Relatively speaking though, enCAPSULAte is a new signee, first appearing with the label in 2009. He still went by the name Capsula then, dropping the album Sense Of A Drop. Prior to that, he debuted with Ajana Records, the psy-chill and dub offshoot of Trishula Records. And holy cow, I can’t believe I’ve now gone Six Degrees Of with the dark psy print on this CD. I had no idea of this connection, simply picking up Fetal Position because it was one of the newer albums from Waveform (also, I like blue). Naturally the man behind the alias - Yosef Shamay – would find a new home after Trishula ceased operation, but on Waveform? The odds, mang!

Ah yes, psy dub, a genre this label’s often flirted with but never seriously committed itself towards. I can’t say it’s why I pick up Waveform CDs to begin with, though the few I took a chance on by whim turned out ace. I was leery about enCAPSULAte after first track Imaginary Gods though, very much in the Shpongle/Ott mold, and sounding incredibly digital and plastic as so much post-millennial psy does. And I freely admit that’s entirely my fault, what with having just indulged the lush sound quality of Ultimae, Silent Season, Cryo Chamber... who could live up to a run of widescreen sonics like that?

Once I got over my aesthetic bias however, Fetal Position warmed itself through sheer creativity. Some tracks like Loosey Goosey and Dark Blanket Of Night go too psy-dub hammy for my taste, but others like Guardians Of Sanity and Overall Pattern tickle my trippy groovy sensibilities just right. Mr. Shamay shows little fear in bucking conventions either, Alice In Spiral Land making use of honest-to-Shiva Amen Breaks, The Hoax a shufflin’ acid jazz outing (with heavy emphasis on the acid), and Krishna Krazy more of a breakbeat thing with a wonderfully daft sample that’d have Dr. Alex Paterson keeling over in glee. Plus finishing off on a pleasant piece of mysterious Indian ambient? I’ll take it!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Aes Dana Featuring MikTek - Far & Off

Ultimae Records: 2016

It’s been a while since the Ultimae ranks were active in any significant way. Between 2014-15, there were but three albums and three compilations. Wedged among them though, were also about a half-dozen EPs, three of which being Aes Dana collaborations with MikTek. If you don’t recall, he’s that new-hotness Greek producer that signed with Ultimae, released an album, and has appeared on nearly every compilation from them since. With such a roll-out for Mr. Aikaterinis, you’d think another album was promptly in the works following Elsewhere, but it’s been over three years since. And Far & Off isn’t a new MikTek album either; rather we’re dealing with a compilation of those three singles, from which Aes Dana gets the main credit, and MikTek has a featuring credit. What, couldn’t they have come up with a collaborative alias, like H.U.V.A. Network with Solar Fields? Say, whatever happened to that project anyhow? And Solar Fields in general, for that matter? It’s been so long since we’ve heard from Magnus, so very, very long…

So, those three records – literally, Aes Dana’s work with MikTek also Ultimae’s first foray into vinyl production - titled Cut., Alkaline, and The Unexpected Hours. These were released one per year, the final one coming out just this year with Far & Off shortly after. Talk about your long game, though given the glacial rate these were made, I wonder if Mr. Villuis had his mind focused on other business (those remasters!). Or maybe tales of backlogged vinyl pressing plants are as dire as I’ve heard. Hey, man, I know having such wonderfully mastered music available on the Black Crack format is super sexy and all, but it’s not that important. Besides, FLAC and DVD remains the superior audio source. Not that I should talk, mind you, remaining perfectly content with CDs ‘til the day I die.

Alright, enough dodging, pivoting, and tangenting. Let’s get to the music on Far & Off. Short review: there’s barely any music on Far & Off. Aes Dana and MikTek have crafted such minimalist dub techno and ambient drone here, I honestly feel like I’m listening to rice crackers. They’re absolutely delicious rice crackers, heady sub-bass tones, whispy piano chords, and even a little dalliance into glitchy-click microfunk rhythms, but still leaving me feeling rather empty after consuming them. Which Vincent claims is the intent, so aces on the execution, I guess.

I get the sense Aes Dana specifically made these tracks with the highest-end playback available, as I easily get lost in the vast, spacious sound design these tracks provide when playing them on my Senns. On anything else however, there’s barely anything there. Even cranking my main stereo (which, given thin-walled apartment living, is only adequate) didn’t provide much sonic depth, to say nothing of my laughable computer speakers. Hearing a few of these at a time, as proper singles, is probably enough; not for a full LP’s worth of run time when so little sticks to the mind after.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Shaded Explorer - Empatia

Silent Season: 2016

Shaded Explorer is Emanuele Pertoldi, a typically obscure person in the world of techno. Not that it’s his fault, mind you, as he’s released music only a few years now. He’s two LPs deep with Silent Season under the alias, with appearances on about a half-dozen compilations from such labels like Deep Electronics, Haar Records, and Ovunqve. Before adopting the Shaded Explorer moniker though, Mr. Pertoldi did put out a number of singles under his own name, across an equally eclectic list of labels (M_Grey, Subself Records, Evasion Room, I Cieli Di Orione). There’s more to Emanuele’s story (other scattered aliases), but this is about as much as Lord Discogs provided, and who are we to judge what information is divulged by The Lord That Knows All? Obsessive compulsive sorts who crave ALL the info’, that’s who!

Shaded Explorer may be obscure by regular techno standards, but as we’re dealing with Silent Season, the music on hand obviously skews towards the ambient and dub end of that spectrum. So I guess that wouldn’t make Mr. Pertoldi that obscure, as dub techno followers are a ravenous people, one that will consume almost anything that’s released within their scene. Me? Um, I just like supporting regional labels, that’s right. Speaking of, I really ought to get gathering more Nordic Trax tracks.

Anyhow, Empatia is the second album from Shaded Explorer on Silent Season, and as per the label’s manifesto, it features all the reflective moods one can hope for out of their dub techno. The first couple tracks (Resilience, Mental Decoupling, and Distant Connections later in the album) are pure ambient though, looping layers of meditative tones fed through a warm, dubby glow as best served while wandering the brisk dawn of coastal rainforests. Oof, that reads dangerously close to New Age bollocks, but the music most definitely is not. It’s, like, the cool meditation ambient music, that you’d find on all those cool compilations from the early ‘90s, when ambient and dub was first sexing things up in chill out rooms.

Actually, Empatia reminds me a lot of such two-decade old CDs, the music rather reminiscent of material coming out of Apollo and Beyond. For sure it’s significantly polished compared to the crusty ambient techno of days long past, but the songcraft is similar. Corresponded Serenity features a soft techno beat fed through dub effects as a pleasant pad hums in the background, When I Decided To Live goes more playful with spritely melodies, and Inner Treasures’ vintage shuffly rhythms and burbling acid is classic ambient techno to t’. Emanuele makes room for contemporary dub techno sounds too, Tomrum building upon a bouncy beat, L’Aura Marina more traditional Basic Channel dub, and Senza Fine allowing some experimental sound design in on the party. Overall, Empatia hits every Win checkbox I look for in this music, almost a too perfectly in fact, with little in surprises. Which is about the worst ‘criticism’ I can level at this album, but here we are.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Anthony Rother - Elixir Of Life

Fax +49-69/450464: 2003

I’ve talked Anthony Rother up a great deal, and for good reason. The man almost single-handedly gave retro electro a good kick in the arsch, among the leaders in the genre’s turn of the century revival. And yet, this is the first album I’ve actually picked up from the chap, but it’s not my fault. His seminal ‘90s work is just so darn expensive, cherished collector’s items that few are willing to part without handsome financial reparation. Yes, even his ventures into synth pop and electroclash, though honestly I can’t say that stuff interests me as much as the stark robot workout music he crafted prior.

And truthfully, I wasn’t searching for Rother albums when I spotted this for a cheeky twenty – I was hunting about for Fax +49-69/450464 musics. That I found Elixir Of Life for such a reasonable price only sweetened the deal, because if there’s any name that seems totally at odds with the famed Pete Namlook print, it’s this German electro maestro. I’ll grant ol’ Anth’ has a muse that stretches beyond the limited palette of robot jams, but releasing music on a label known for old school ambient, nu-skool ambient, ambient techno, and ambient-noodlesoup? A most intriguing development indeed, one that yielded five albums worth on Fax+ before the label was forced into premature closure. Makes me wonder if Mr. Rother will end up on Carpe Sonum sometime in the near future.

If you’re heading into Elixir Of Life anticipating more electro or *gasp* electro pop, forget it. The title or artwork should give the hint: this is music with the ‘70s in sight, coming off like a long lost piece of classic experimental krautrock than anything intended with modern sensibilities. One track, Elixir Of Life (Part 8), does offer some robot beatcraft, but aside from that, the only sense of rhythm comes from simmering subdued sequencers the likes commonly heard in Berlin-School works (Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 7). There isn’t much melody on this album either, though some nice minimal pad work does show up towards the end, especially in Part 9. Other pieces go straight drone, letting an all-pervasive analog hiss dominate for the duration before moving onto another piece. Oh yeah, that hiss doesn’t let up throughout the album, actually growing more prominent as Elixir Of Life plays out. I guess it helps tie everything together into a continuous theme, though I’m at a loss as to what theme Rother had in mind here, beyond doing a take on crusty electronic experimentation. His musique concrete dalliance gets absurd with Part 5, where a kick gets warped, sped-up, bent, slowed, and stretched to all manner of weird abstraction.

Considering the Plastikman also appeared on Fax+, I can’t say Mr. Rother’s offering here is unprecedented, though fancying the deep end of this style of music is a must. Elixir Of Life will come off as one big disappointing whiff of droning nothing otherwise. Strictly a fans only album, this.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Floating Points - Elaenia

Luaka Bop: 2015

Another ‘Best Of 2015’ album? Sure, keep ‘em coming. Can’t have my finger on the pulse of what’s what if I ignore things that are now ‘n how. Sure, it’s comforting retreating to familiar names and sounds (‘member ambient techno? ‘member Aphex Twin? ‘member Fax +49-69/450464? Yeah, Fax Plus-Numbers… so great), but it’s always wise hearing the new hotness on the streets. Besides, with so much constantly recycled these days, all which is new is so very old, yet sometimes refined into something better. Not often, mind, but since we’re dealing with a chap who got his break with Ninja Tune, I’ll take a wager we’re dealing with the real deal regarding Floating Points.

The man behind this project is Sam Shepherd, whom I constantly think is the name of the Mass Effect protagonist. Fool, if I’m gonna’ mistake a ‘shepherd’, make it at least a real one, like actor Sam Shepard, of Black Hawk Down, The Right Stuff, and Swordfish fame. Or maybe Sam Sheppard, the infamous neurosurgeon who’s murder trial became the basis for The Fugitive. In what must be a coincidence of the highest magnitude, Floating Points Sam Shepherd has also spent time attaining a degree in neuroscience, though clearly that’s where his connection with that other Sam Sheppard ends. As Floating Points, he’s spent the past half-decade releasing music with a fondness of nu-jazz in his sights, hence the Ninja Tune love. He’s also released on Planet Mu and Border Community, though his own print of Eglo Records remains his primary outlet - all the while doing DJ tours, radio shows, and live performances with a full band as Floating Points Ensamble. So, y’know, if the brain science career doesn’t pan out for him, he’s definitely got that music thing to fall back on.

Elaenia is his debut album, and it’s an odd record for sure. I don’t know if I’d give it a “Best Of 2015” accolade (like I give anything that), but it definitely leaves a lasting impression, a rather remarkable feat for an LP that’s rather short. Second track Silhouettes (I, II & III), an extended jazz jam with the full band, runs nearly eleven minutes long, and that’s almost one-quarter the whole record! Another significant chunk of Elaenia comprises of minimalist ambient techno, much of which reminds me of music that came from Pete Namlook’s ‘90s output. Then again, it could be all those Dark Side Of The Moog sessions still fresh on my mind making the connection, but one cannot deny the Berlin-School influences on tracks like the titular track and Thin Air. Heck, the middle portion of this album kinda’ plays out as a singular sequence, each track flowing into the next so effortlessly.

But nay, the biggest talking point regarding Elaenia remains how it ends. Perotation Six gets the band back together, and builds to a rousing, cacophonous climax in

And you’re left wanting in silence, endlessly waiting for a denouement that never comes. Tricksy, these brain science guys are.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Alphaxone - Echoes From Outer Silence

Cryo Chamber: 2016

And now we return to Alphaxone, with his fourth album in half as many years. Man, when some chaps find that stroke of inspiration, they don’t hold back, though obviously we’re not dealing with Merzbow levels of ‘creativity’. Mr. Saleh generally comes in with a clear concept in mind with each album, even if the music within goes incredibly abstract, allowing more creative expression on his part. Thus one can keep knocking ‘em out if you’re not limited by conventional songcraft restrictions. Yes, even dark ambient has its notable markers and canonical concepts – like, I doubt we’ll ever hear an album based on My Little Pony in this scene that wasn’t a deliberate macabre parody.

On Echoes From Outer Silence, Alphaxone turns his muse further towards the unending black speckled with stars, a natural progression considering the trajectory of his album on Cryo Chamber. First it was living in a gray land – bleak perhaps, but still rooted in terra firma of a sort. Altered Dimensions explored sounds and moods of a possible outworld, or mayhaps a world within, parallel to our own; dimensional travel’s confusing that way. Following that, Absence Of Motion found us suspended within the ether between solid ground and space, so it follows that gravity’s relinquished its domain over us just a little more. Damn, am I ever feeling loquacious today.

Actually, the concept behind this album is less about traveling to the cosmic realm, instead hearing the faint murmurs from above. The droning thrum of the cosmos itself, whispers of ancient galactic civilizations, and all that good stuff. Hey, wait… might some of those implied ‘echoes’ from outer silence be actually ‘signals’? Like, obviously Sabled Sun is a post-apocalyptic tale of Earth, and I’m assuming Alphaxone loosely bases his work on the presumption of an earthly starting point, but how cool would it be if Echoes Of Outer Silence was in some way linked to a greater overall narrative within Cryo Chamber’s roster of artists? It’d take the label’s collaborative ideas to a whole extra level, where instead of a pile of ‘em build upon one album’s worth of ideas, they keep adding to a growing arc through a series of albums! Holy cow, that’d be one of the boldest things I’ve ever seen in electronic music, though probably not terribly commercially viable.

Echoes From Outer Silence is the most melodic album I’ve heard from Alphaxone yet, though that’s honestly not saying much considering it’s mostly his drone work for Cryo Chamber I’ve consumed. Still, after a two minute opener of field recordings, second track Resistance offers synth tones ebbing in and out as the cosmic hum dominates the ambience. Elsewhere, Departure presents a melancholic mood within its droning dub tones, and Altered Xone has a mysterious dirge echo off ancient halls. The rest of this album plays as you’d expect of dark space drone, where the sounds are sci-fi, the reverb distant, and the timbre infinite. Nothing like feeling lost in eternal emptiness, amirite?

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10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1965 1966 1967 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 20xx Update 2562 302 Acid 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 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 Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Ajana Records 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 Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquila Arcade 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 Avicii Axiom Axtone Records 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 Beck Bedouin Soundclash Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Berlin-School Beto Narme bhangra big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BineMusic BioMetal 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 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 Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes Calibre calypso Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records CD-Maximum Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Cocoon Recordings Coldcut Coldplay Colette collagist Columbia comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cor Fijneman Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmos Studios Council Of Nine country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cube Guys Culture Beat cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave D-Bridge D-Fuse Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk 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 David Bickley 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. Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System 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 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 E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earthling Eastcoast EastWest Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News 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 Epic epic trance Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape ethereal euro dance Eurythmics Eve Records Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records 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 Filter filters Final Fantasy Five AM Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles freestyle French house Front Line Assembly Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel goth Grammy Awards grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru GZA Haddaway 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 Leisureland Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I.F.O.R. 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 Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Island Records italo disco italo house Jack Moss Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Horner 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 Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan Johnny Cash Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink 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 Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith 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 Morris Leftfield Legacy Leon Bolier Linear Labs liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger 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 Montanà Lost Language Loud Records Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater 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 Meat Loaf Meditronica 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 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 Moby Model 500 modern classical Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Moss Garden Motech Moving Shadow Mujaji Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute Muzik Magazine My Best Friend N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neotropic nerdcore Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana 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 Ol' Dirty Bastard old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oosh Open Canvas Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ouragan OutKast Overdream Pantera 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 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 post-dubstep Prince Priority Records prog 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 psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Public Enemy punk rock 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 Random Review Rank 1 rant RareNoise Records Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat RCA React Red Jerry reggae remixes Renaissance Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Riley Reinhold Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo 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 Sasha sci-fi Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Signature Records SiJ Silent Season silly gimmicks 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 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 Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Manoeuvres space music space synth Spank Rock Special D speed garage Speedy J Spicelab spoken word Spotify Suggestions SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stray Gators Street Fighter Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Substance Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak Switch Sylk 130 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 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 Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Glimmers 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 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 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 Universal Music Upstream Records Urban Icon Records V2 Vagrant Records Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Vince DiCola Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Vitalic vocal trance Wagram Music Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Waveform Records Wax Trax Records WEA Weekly Mini-Review White Swan Records William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yello Yes Youth Youtube Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoo Entertainment Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq