I feel sort of fraudulent posting this record since I know so little about techno. What I do know is that this record is very much ahead of its time. It's strange, skewed, sputtering, and impeccably produced. Hard, abstract, and squelchy all the way through. Has a sense of humor, whereas a lot of techno feels humorless and alienating to me. A human made this. PS: this is the first 90s record that we've posted!
November 25, 2014
November 24, 2014
Remember those kiosks at convenience stores that had all the nature sounds and pop new age sauna music graphic buttons? I used to stand there pressing them the entire time my mom was shopping. Spring Fantasy is kinda like the musical incarnation of that. This album comes replete with gallops, whooshes, cacaws, pops, bubbles, and faerie sounds. Thanks to Greg Davis and his legendary new age blog Crystal Vibrations for letting me in on this one. Tracks from this record keep getting pulled from Youtube, but you can preview the whole album here.
November 20, 2014
Synthy tropical lounge pop bliss, with plenty of icy space for good measure. Camino del Sol was originally a 5-track 12", was later expanded into an LP by the wonderful Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule, and then reissued with some unreleased material by the also wonderful Numero Group in 2004. Their take on "The Girl From Ipanema" is killer, but by no means the standout. If you're a fan of music, you'll like this. Spiky, shimmering, John Foxx-produced (!) "Spiral Staircase" preview in all its cheeky brevity below.
November 19, 2014
Synth and soundtrack legend Vangelis and actress/"occasional singer" Irene Papas take a powerful journey to their home country through Greek folk songs. Although many Vangelis fans seem to have missed this one (probably because it's often listed under Irene Papas), it's by far my favorite Vangelis record. Fantastic execution of "ancient-futurism." Vangelis uses technology to reinterpret folkloric songs in a way that only one with close ties to the songs and serious musical skill could do. Interesting instrumentation and diverse moods, with choir, orchestra, and synthesizers used for both melodies and textures, playing with density and an expansiveness that always surprises. Read more here!
buy / download
buy / download
November 18, 2014
21 tracks written and performed by members of the highly influential musicians' collective Clube da Esquina. This record gained a massive following in Brazil, but doesn't get enough love in the states in favor of tropicália and bossa nova. It's a complicated record, effectively a patchwork of moods and styles; and it's experimental and volatile to the core, evading traditional song structures (and even traditional song lengths). "Saídas e Bandeiras Nº 1" is 43 seconds of sunny, psychy guitar-pop, ending abruptly only to be picked up 11 tracks later...for a minute and a half. "Dos Cruces" is five and a half minutes of meandering, drum-studded ache, winding up to a paltry 45 seconds of blistering chorus, overjoyed to have finally arrived, only to be cut off there, too. Always leaves you wanting more. Check out the string interlude halfway through "Um Girassol da Cor de Seu Cabelo" for some Xenakis steeze, or "Pelo Amor de Deus" for wild organ glissandos. I found myself sobbing on the M train listening to "San Vicente" the other day. I think Lô Borges was like 19 when they recorded this thing. It's a crazy ride.
November 17, 2014
Today we're posting a record that matters a whole lot to both of us, and has been an ongoing reference point in our musical relationship. It's also weirdly overlooked, possibly because there's confusion over to whom the record is credited, and possibly because Robin Guthrie left it out of the catalog of Cocteau Twins records that he remastered in recent years. As far as we know, there haven't been any major write-ups about it.
This is truly an uncategorizable work, one which far exceeds the sum of its parts. It's egoless. It's a fluid, restless record, moody and aloof--it peaks several times, ecstatically, only to retreat back into itself. Startling synergy between these masterminds means that ambient and new age fans will find a lot to love here--it's Harold Budd, after all, and there are long stretches of huge, hulking instrumental tracks. But the record is darker than typical new age--it feels like climbing through a cavernous skeleton, and the instrumental tracks (like "Memory Gongs") are echoing and sometimes sinister. It's not as effusive as Cocteau Twins, and perhaps not as immediately gratifying--many tracks fade out right when you want more the most. It has its rock moments ("Eyes Are Mosaics") but this isn't daytime music, and it's not background music. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, it's a perfect on-repeat record, folding in on itself like water.
November 15, 2014
I've been listening to this trance-inducing album non-stop since it was posted on Sounds of the Dawn. It features deep, shimmering tapestries of synthesizers, tabla, sitar, and some home-made deeply resonant percussion (called "whale sail" and "space bass"). It sounds like it was recorded in one epic take at a cathedral. Absolutely essential for all classic rock and new age psychonauts.
November 13, 2014
November 12, 2014
I first heard Miharu Koshi at the now-defunct Big Snow during a revelatory Gabe D'amico DJ set. The track that blew my mind was a lush, warped, slightly psychy, rollerskate-ready slo-mo disco track, which I still haven't tracked down (did I dream it?), but the search led me to this deeply underrated, Haruomi Hosono-produced synth-pop record, about which there is very little information online. Standouts are the tribal-pop lament "Laetitia," and "Scandal Night," replete with skittering robot chirps and whirrs. Hosono production and Matsutake programming. Tasty and playful, with dense electro percussion throughout. Side note: "L'amour Toujours" is a Telex cover (tragic/amazing video NSFW).
buy / download
buy / download
November 11, 2014
Austrian musician Joe Zawinul is a hugely influential jazz synthesist that played on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, and in the fusion band Weather Report. Recorded at his home in Pasadena, Dialects is an entertaining journey for any fans of African choral music, fusion, new age, and outsider electronic music in general. Jazz, but without much bombastic, showy musicianship. It has the best vocoder usage I've ever heard, tasteful synth whooshes, electronic drum pads, rain sticks, an African vocal trio, and some help from Bobby McFerrin. I'd call this a masterpiece!
buy / download
buy / download
November 10, 2014
An all-time favorite. The most precise new age record I've ever heard. Searingly emotive, but without all that sloppy human feelings stuff. It sounds as if Steve Roach didn't even write this so much as channel it. Not on Youtube. Enjoy :}
November 8, 2014
Adventurous album from Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra. Lots of off-kilter synth sounds and tribal almost-techno but also plenty of strange percussion and animal sound effects (the outro is hilarious). A truly uncategorizable piece.