Lone - Levitate Album Review
British electronic musician, Matt Cutler, better known as Lone, has experimented with many different genres of music such as ambient, IDM, instrumental hip hop, breakbeat hardcore, among many others. With his new album, Levitate, he experiments more in the realm of ambient, IDM, and breakbeat. At the exposition of song "Alpha Wheel" you hear some warming synths that just makes you want to get on the dance floor, and when the beat comes in it sounds much like a song from Aphex Twin's critically acclaimed Selected Ambient Works 85–92 or any of the Boards of Canada records . The rest of the album kind of follows this formula but there are certain songs that are just gorgeous compositionally like the ambient driven "Sleepwalkers" which has this soothing and melodic synth accompanied by this gentle but hard-hitting break beat. Compositionally it gives off this early morning feel like Tycho's "Daydream" off his 2011 hit record Dive. There are other songs on here that are just a beautiful listen like the song "Sea of Tranquility". When you listen to this song you feel as though you are perpetually ascending. From the breakbeat to the ambient pads and synths the mood of this piece is very eerie but simultaneously gives off this pensive and calming atmosphere.
Overall, this album is another great release by Lone filled with ambient and IDM tracks that paints this vivid pictures for the listener to either relax to while winding down on a Sunday night or to simply dance to at a friends small get together.
Chihei Hatakeyama - Euphotic Album Review
9.5/10 CERTIFIED FRESH
Chihei Hatakeyama's Euphotic is his fourth release so far this year. This is not unheard of from Hatakeyama since he has a total of over 30 record releases since the year 2006. Hatakeyama is a post-ambient experimental musician who has undeniably become one of the most recognized names on the ambient underground music scene. His ability to create these uninterrupted and continual landscapes for his listeners set him apart from many other artist that make the same type of music. Listening to Hatakeyama music is almost the music you picture when you are meditating. His music is picturesque and painfully gorgeous. But under all of this there is more than just meet the ear. His music makes the mind drift to find out the true answer of what it is looking for. His music is murky like an impressionistic painting but instead it somehow transcends itself above any sort of medium that has ever been discovered. Hatakeyama's music is truly in its own lane, unique beyond description. And in Euphotic you get this same notion from him. All four songs run about 20 minutes long each. And from the first track "Euphotic 1" you hear this beautiful repetitive drone that sounds almost like white noise but instead drowned in reverb. You feel as though you are floating above surpassing all of these beautiful landscapes but somehow still trying to get as long of a peak before the nature below you disappears.
And in "Euphotic 2" the composition is again incredibly minimalistic but the drones are so pretty that your mind imagines these lush environments filled with opportunity to just roam and be free and let all the stresses of life go just for a moment before you have to return to the boundaries of reality. This album is so beautiful it will nearly bring tears to your eyes,
Chihei Hatakeyama and Corey Fuller created a heart-wrenching piece of gold with this EP. It's painful beauty is one you will not soon forget, the atmospheres it creates is something that reality just can't give you which makes it all the more an incredible body of work. This album evokes emotions within the listener that only a few times in one's lifetime will ever be experienced.
@MoStFeAr - Resurgence EP
Orlando, Florida native D.H. Ellis has been making ambient music under the alias, @MoStFeAr , for a about a year now. His minimalistic approach in conducting his music has proven to be a great strength of his. He creates these expanding drones that with its ethereal sound creates a blissful world for the listener where their minds can escape and imagine without realities restrictions, and with his new EP he continues this notion.
On this new record, Resurgence EP, Ellis uses narrations by the renowned 20th century philosopher, Alan Watts. And with this Ellis tries to tell a story about how the world is ever-changing and one can never truly improve himself. The contemplative and emotionally arousing narrations by Watts to Harris's immensely gorgeous compositions makes this four track EP one delightful listen. The listener will sometimes find themselves lost in though as they try to create these elongated landscapes in their mind that never seem to end. @MoStFeAr is just beginning to reach his potential, and if continued down this path he has embarked upon he will continue to make listeners drift off into worlds that challenge the human consciousness.
Hakobune - Garden of Ghosts Review
The 30 year old musician from Tokyo, Hakobune, has been making experimental ambient music since 2007. He has collaborated with other experimental ambient artist on other projects as well such as Chihei Hatakeyama, Dirk Serries, and Pleq. Earlier this year Hakobune released a beautiful 45 minute atmospheric piece of ambient music entitled Apsidial Motion. The piece is one of Hakobune's best releases since his 2011 release Shadow on The Lawn.
Furthermore, Hakobune's new release, Garden of Ghosts, is much like his previous releases but this one is much more intentional and you can tell Hakobune is trying to invent these atmospheres for the listener to lose themselves in. The compositions on all four tracks are murky regarding that they are drone music. The track "Garden of Ghosts" is strikingly gorgeous. You wish that Hakobune stretched it out a little longer so you can really try to understand the track on an emotional level.
Overall, the EP is a beautiful and a touching listen. Hakobune's ambient compositions are much more gentle in their approach than many of his counterparts which makes his music almost have a romantic intricacy to them. But Hakobune is continuing what has always made his music beautiful and as long as he keeps doing that he will always have audiences in his corner waiting to hear what atmosphere is he going to take them next.
Owen - The King of Whys Review
Mike Kinsella , a Chicago native, who goes by the alias, Owen, has been releasing indie rock and math rock music since his debut album Owen in 2001. And with his new release, The King of Whys he continues this sensitive and bittersweet sound that made his last six releases such a pleasant listen. On this album he diversifies his sound resembling bands like My Bloody Valentine on tracks like "Empty Bottle", Maps & Atlases on songs like "Burning Soul" and a touch of Sam Amidon on tracks like "An Island".
On the track "Empty Bottle" (produced by Bon Iver member and solo artist, S. Carey), Owen opens with a nostalgic ballad for the ages, almost paying direct homage to the late 1980's shoegaze innovators, My Bloody Valentine. Owen serenades " Empty bottle, Reflective window, what is it that you hope to see? Look beyond yourself, you will find me." This song is sweet and hazy depiction of love. Owens pierces the skin and down to the soul with his bittersweet and melodic harmonies on this track.
On "The Desperate Act" Owen gets folky and tells a heart-wrenching tale of a man with no purpose in a relationship and how he feels like nothing is ever enough, he sings "Somehow all of the sudden I find myself struggling, two lives are too much and not enough." In "Settled Down" Owen gets back to his math rock origins stylistically. The instrumentation resembles tracks like "Seratonin" or "Tide Teeth" off of Night Beds latest album Ivywild.
Overall, the album isn't ground breaking but it is a another solid release by Owen. This album further proves that Owen is consistent and knows who is audience is and makes music just for them to enjoy. The production by S. Carey is very sharp, and Owens vocals compliment Carey's style very well. The album is a pleasant and relaxing listen, and Owen is gradually becoming more diverse sonically witch each and every release. I am excited to see what the future holds for him.
Work Drugs - Method Acting Review
Work Drugs is an American dream pop, and chillwave duo from Philadelphia, founded by Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana. Their new record, Method Acting, is their tenth record since their inception in 2010. For years they have been known for they hazy, bittersweet music that sounds like an early evening daydream. This type of music has proved effective for the dream pop duo regarding they have been consistently garnering more and more commercial success with each release. And on their latest record they have continued this same idea, however, without discovering any new territory.
The opening and album titled track "Method Acting" is the best track out of the 11 tracks on the album. The smooth synths and the sweet, serenading vocals from Crystals compliment each other very well. This record reminds me of their 2012 hit single "License to Drive" off their Absolute Bearing album. This track is definitely a "nostalgia for the past" type of track where Work drugs is trying to satisfy the appetite of their fans that have been there since their exposition.
The next track "Expats" is another gem on this record that satisfies those listeners who are nostalgic for that old Work Drugs sound. This track is very bittersweet and at times on the track it can easily be confused for a Teen Daze or Daywave record. The lyrics are sweet and reflective as Crystals sangs a line on the chorus "I miss your daydream."
Overall, there are certain tracks on this album that at times seem like distractions like "American Fool" or "Thousand Palms" that don't seem to fit the mold of what the rest of the record is trying to do. Without these tracks and a couple other underwhelming tracks the album can easily be regarded as one of the better dream pop records of 2016. You can't deny Work Drugs talent or potential, and they know what they are capable of and at times they execute on both very well.