The summer melt is in full swing– we are barely aware of what day it is when we wake up before it is already gone, and time seems to sneak by more quickly than we would prefer. If only there was a way to capture moments of the warmer, lusher months and re-open them when it gets cold and barren outside. Although I probably listen to more ambient music during the latter periods of the year, for warmth, or as an extension of my comforter, these late-spring and summer releases (and one re-discovered classic) have been providing me with some solace and minimal auditory stimulation when needed most, and will likely be the best way of reminding me of the warmth that melted everything outside my window, when in 6 months the same view will be wind-blown and crystalline.
Heathered Pearls – Docile Touch – Polite Isle
Heathered Pearls is the fledgling music and art project of Jakub Alexander, founder of Moodgadget, music editor and manager at ISO50, and A&R for Ghostly International (and my roommate). Having known Jakub for more than three years now, being aware of the small handfull of tracks he previously put his name on, it’s surprising to see how thorough and complete his debut of Heathered Pearls has been. It’s almost as if this music was either inside of him for years before it finally materialized, or it formed rapidly during a relatively short, possibly traumatic period in his recent life. Either way, Polite Isle, released on Ghostly’s subscription-based Ghostly Music Service, which recently migrated to drip.fm, and features a number of well-curated classic and off-the-catalog releases, is filled with disarming, hypnotic soundscapes that are worth a listen from anyone interested in waxing post-ambient.
Kyle Bobby Dunn – New Pures – Ways of Meaning
Kyle Bobby Dunn sent me his new release, Ways of Meaning, a couple months ago and a never got around to crafting an adequate ambient post until today. Well, I’ve been a longtime supporter of his post-classical, yet wholly classic form of ambient and guitar drone. His works are subtle, pristine, and patient far beyond his or any of our physical years. Ways of Meaning is a continuation of KBD’s ongoing sonic work, the only real difference this time is that most of the tracks have been made more bite-size compared to his other work, which rarely clocks in at less than ten minutes. But the formula is there– exploring new and deeper depths of sound, stripping away all the consequential and accessory sound, leaving only the slowly progressing core, a new pure sound, spherical and yellow like the yolk of an egg. Listeners of classical music should take note even more now than ever, but honestly there are time when we find ourselves between the need for music and the need for silence, and musicians like Kyle are here to satisfy that specific need.
The Sight Below – At First Touch (Simon Scott Remix) – Glider Expanded Edition
The Sight Below is one incredible listening and viewing experience in the space of music that he occupies. His music is dark and emotive, yet rarely abbrasive or unpleasant. Sadness, catatonia, dissonant peacefulness, can all be perceived at different points in his catalog, supplemented by a live performance that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this musician is not simply making his music, he is living it and it is in control of him when he is on the stage, not the other way around. Yet at the same time, all of this is done without pushing the listener away, it is done almost introvertedly (as opposed to be doing outwardly to elicit a response) in a way that beckons the listener’s/viewer’s interest, as if the temptation to peer into the dark depths of another’s opened soul is resistible in the least. TSB’s seminal 2008 full-length Glider has just been re-released with early album material and remixes previously absent, including this excellent and slow-falling remix by Simon Scott, who you may know from essential UK shoegaze band Slowdive.
Pub – Derail – >Single
Around the time that I really started getting into ambient music and subtler, softer forms of techno, I heard a staggering twelve-plus-minute track from Pub called Lunch, which was released during IDM’s later heydays in 2002 on UK-based Ampoule records. Citing it as a primary influence, Jakub let me borrow the rest of the album, >Single, for further exploration. The faint, mechanical pulse seems to persist throughout the record, and while the differences between each track are at times rather faint, the track that drew me in years ago, Lunch, makes so much more sense now, placed among tracks like Derail, and the story being told on >Single becomes clear and captivating, like watching an independent film with this album as the score– you can see the rainy cobblestone streets somewhere in the UK, green paint peels from garages, iron wrought fences glisten with condensation.