STANLEYSTANLEY - "BESIDE MYSELF (AND LOOKING IN)"
On the latest for The Ambient Zone, the UK based artist folds delicately pressed synth lines atop one another creating a teetering tower of song. Modular synth lines are tweaked to create sharp, pointillist runs through porous space between the brain and the workstation. Lovely, disorienting work by the young producer and a feather in the Ambient Zone’s cap.
SMOMID - "MESSAGE TO THE MOAI"
Where this track starts and where it ends is hardly a straight line. Somewhere in the String Modeling Midi Device that stands in for the name of this project, several flips are switched and melodies, beats, abstract glitches of shedding sound, digital detritus and modulating frequencies all coalesce into a chaotic and engaged world of sound that isn’t mapped as much as it is manifested into existence.
NON-FUNCTIONAL HARMONY - "--A--"
The first of a 26 part series of compositions from the Berlin-based producer that skirts the line between ambient washes and more noisy, experimental forms and tonal patterns. “- -a- -” crests and peaks at several places where these two tendencies overlap creating disorienting dips into pure, sine wave fever dream. Gorgeous work.
MARIPOOL - "HOME"
The London-via-Lisbon artist creates a smoky kind of bedroom slowcore that recalls artist like Sasami and (Sandy) Alex G in their most despondent and dreamy. Playing and recording all of the instruments herself, there is a kind of tape-worn intimacy to this world we are invited into. The kind of aural world you feel like you should ask if you need to remove your shoes first before entering.
DYE - "TILT"
“Tilt” is an opening salvo from the Oakland group that pulls from spiky, angular post-punk as much as it does depthless shoegaze. “Tilt” is full of interwoven guitar lines and male-female vocals that underscore the dichotomy between light and dark that the young group is able to delve deeply into on their debut EP.
PERFECT BLUE - "WICKED"
Born out of a fertile Chicago experimental music scene, Perfect Blue combines the wide open and heavy-as-a-feather shoegaze roar with the playful melodies and kitchen-sink instrumentation of Mercury Rev. Heartfelt vocals pull like a strong undercurrent, never quite slipping below the song’s omnidirectional production, but acting as an unseen hand guiding the composition through each blistering section.
CARRIERS - "MAKE IT RIGHT"
Tell me you couldn’t pack up and move into Carriers’ spacious and luminescent tone on “Make It Right”. The Cincinnati group comprised of members of Afghan Whigs and The National and led by bandleader and songwriter Curt Kiser exude a sense of boundless optimism and endless searching for crafting the perfect hook and volume swell. At 8 minutes “Make It Right” doesn’t hit a wrong beat or overstay its welcome.
TOTAL HEAT - "L.A. SONG"
Total Heat is a solo project from Girlpool drummer Ross Chait. Out from behind the drum kit, Chait is able to put his pop songwriting proclivities on full display. Capturing the sun-baked feel of a cassette left on the dash in 90 degree weather, “L.A. Song” swims in an aural haze in which irresistible hooks and a driving bass line that rings through with naked ambition.
HARP SAMUELS - "FAKING"
The major chord blast off in the beginning of “Faking” feels like a rocket ascending into space before beginning it’s slow descent back to earth as the track blurs itself into a bittersweet slow-motion dance track. Reminiscent of Maps “The Turning of the Mind” or Junior Boys filtered through blown out shoegaze pedals, Harp Samuels turns his downtrodden composition into an anthem of wounded hope.
SUUMHOW - "MUUSCL"
Described as IDM you can’t really dance to, “Muuscl” is a doubling down on disjointed and broken beats, digital flotsam, blown out drones, noise-trip tourism and a single thread of melody that somehow ties it all together. The duo from Brussels have created a challenging and ambitious work here that covers a lot of ground from noise to warm, beat driven reflexive pop.
FOUNTAIN CHILD - "AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON"
Originally from Birmingham, UK but now based out of Shanghai, “As Dreams Are Made On” builds upon a skittering and raw Garage and Rave beat palate to incorporate natural field recordings, vocal samples and beautiful, eliding drones. The track is inherently emotional as it is a two-steppers delight. More lo-fi, unpolished tracks like these need to find their way into the light.
ACADO, ELIAS DORÉ - "ASURA"
After meeting in Berlin’s techno clubs the duo of Acado and Elias Doré have forged a hive mind fused by mid-temp BPMs, hard kicks, world-sampling melodies and ass-moving grooves. “Asura” moves from an almost meditative state to complete hedonistic abandonment under command of a slap bass and afrobeat regulation.