A specially curated trip through the continuum of ambient sound, ideal for headphones during the gray days and long nights of late winter. Over the course of approximately two hours you the listener can expect to drift through an array of soundscapes—from classic ambient, krautrock, and new age to techno, ’90s IDM, modern avant guarde composition and disembodied chamber music—toward some faintly outlined shape at some distant point beyond the horizon.
Tim Hecker is a perennial favorite at DECIBELity. The Canadian artist and avant garde sound designer, who currently splits time between Montreal and Los Angeles, has always defied easy categorization— more abrasive than what generally passes for ambient music, and yet far too melodic and pretty to be classed with the noise or drone crowds. Over the course of the last decade and a half, he has consistently pushed into uncharted territories, with results that are usually equal parts beautiful and terrifying. His eighth LP Love Streams, released via 4AD finds him in peak form, marrying harmonic distortion with warped choral arrangements, heavily processed synthesizers and of course lots of noise. Stellar! “Black Phase” (taken from Love Streams)
The first proper full-length release from prolific DIY producer/musician Sam Ray under his Ricky Eat Acid moniker, Three Love Songs was initially offered as a free digital download, in addition to a limited vinyl run on Orchid Tapes.
Imagine a cross between the warped bedroom pop of Ariel Pink or early Atlas Sound, the miniature delicacy of Mum and the ethereal oddball experimentation of Sung Tongs-era Animal Collective.
It’s dreamy lo-fi (mostly) ambient music, kind of like the aural equivalent of water color painting— where music box melodies and wordless vocals smear into pastoral atmospheres enveloped by soft tape hiss; with bubbling synths, crackly field recordings and all manner of miniature sonic artifacts skitter hither and yon.
The two exceptions are the blunted downtempo number “It Will Draw Me Over to it Like it Always Did” which channels Mo Wax-era DJ Shadow, And the straight-up Balearic house track “In My Dreams We Are Almost Touching.”
Bibio aka Stephen Wilkinson makes lo-fi, layered, somewhat folkish, semi-ambient, electronica noise that often has a catchy beat and always has a strong emotional backbone. His latest album Mind Bokeh takes his past efforts and morphs them into a new more accessible sound with strong synthy melodies and funky rhythms with much more pronounced vocals.
Where Ambivalence Avenue and The Apple And The Tooth both had electronic feels and strong rhythms they also had more atmospheric themes with laid back acoustic and instrumental moments. This time instead those warm sunny fuzzy feelings are traded in for more urgent sentiments of enjoying right here, right now. He seems very sure of his ability to stand in the here and now this go round too, where in the past he might have been happy as an unknown.
Mind Bokeh deserves to be known too as even iTunes wants you to listen to it. They are offering the most rocking track on the album “Take Off Your Shirt” for free for a limited time. Go get it now but don’t let it be an indicator for the rest of the album as it is way guitar heavy and faster then any of the other tracks. Regardless of the progression the album still sounds like distinct Bibio and I wouldn’t want it any other way.