Thursday, April 30, 2015

025/100 - "Fordlandia" by Jóhann Jóhannsson

"Fordlandia" by Jóhann Jóhannsson is a modern minimalist classical delight that follows seamlessly from "A Winged Victory for the Sullen".

Filled with luscious strings and magical woodwind, haunting choral, atmospheric piano and organ, and subtle electronics; “Fordlandia” delivers in terms of the sound. This sound is underpinned by strong melody and a real focus dynamics, making it fall easily into the soundtrack genre. Whilst based around Henry Ford’s failed rubber plant of the same name, “Fordlandia” isn't a soundtrack but, most definitely, could be.

“Fordlandia” is an exemplary piece from the Icelandic composer, one that displays both poise and balance.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

024/100 - A Winged Victory for the Sullen

One album that comes close to the grandeur of "Stories from Elsewhere" is the self-titled debut from modern classical "supergroup" A Winged Victory for the Sullen.

The music created by Dustin O'Haloran and Adam Wiltzie will take your breath away with its simple understated elegance. Theirs is modern classical music with an emphasis placed firmly on ambience and atmosphere, music inspired by their collective experience: O'Haloran as a soundtrack composer and Wiltzie as musician with exemplary acts such as Stars of the Lid.

“A Winged Victory for the Sullen” is food for the soul, sustenance for a long life.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

023/100 - "Stories from Elsewhere" by Rhian Sheehan

After yesterday's post I was asked to recommend music with a similar feel. I spoke of a few artists before settling on Rhian Sheehan.

Sheehan's music is superb and his most recent release - "Stories from Elsewhere" - is truly magnificent. It has a grandeur that is, quite simply, unsurpassed.

With "Stories from Elsewhere" Sheehan has taken elements of post-rock, modern classical, and electronic music and created a cinematic delight ... an album that brims with ambient atmosphere, euphoric movement and meaningful melody.

I have loved this album since its release in 2013 and have welcomed the timely reminder of its magnificence.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, April 27, 2015

022/100: "Oblivion Hymns" by Hammock

There is something unmistakable about the majestic sound of Hammock. Their particular style of ambient post-rock is a true delight and "Oblivion Hymns", their most recent release, is truly delightful.

What sets this album apart from its peer group are the vocal elements … the angelic choir on two tracks, such as “Then The Quiet Explosion” … or the last track - “Tres Dominí” - with its haunting vocal, a vocal that sends shivers down my spine each & every time I hear it.

This is an album of exquisite pastoral soundscapes, the kind of beauty that leaves an indelible mark on your soul.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

021/100 - “Earthlight” by Horizon Fire

“Earthlight” by Manchester-based artist Horizon Fire is a Sunday afternoon kind of album, seriously mellow with deliciously warm synths and languid rhythms that lull you into a fuzzy dream state. Think Boards of Canada but without their trademark glitchiness or a slower Ulrich Schnauss and you will get the gist.

If you need an album to help you chill out, this is it: “Earthlight” is a melodic downtempo delight from the start of “Asimov” to final refrain of the title track “Earthlight”. It is rare to find an album with this level of consistency.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

020/100: All We Are

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon All We Are but I am glad I did. Their self-titled album is a wonderfully uplifting sugar rush of sound.

Categorised as “Psychedelic Boogie” on their Facebook page, the trio from Liverpool have an alt. pop, indie disco sound that is utterly captivating and very, very funky … think new wave crossed with 80’s post-disco and you’ll get the gist.

Their track “honey” reminds me of early Prince with a male falsetto that will delight the ears and a guitar that make you move.

All We Are are worth your attention.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, April 24, 2015

019/100 - "A Day In The Park / For Silencia" by The Soft Ensemble

Moving from "Valtari", we have a 22 minute longform piece, released by Twice Removed, entitled "A Day In The Park / For Silencia" by The Soft Ensemble.

The Soft Ensemble are L.J.Wegrzyn and G.Bojanek who made some music together for a release that never happened, and F.Appel who breathed new life into this music. Together they mixed found-sounds, field recordings and guitars to create an intriguing longform soundsculpture.

Whilst I found the field recordings to be inviting, I really liked it when the acoustic guitar makes its entrance near the end ... it hints of what could be from this collective.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

018/100: "Valtari" by Sigur Rós

Billed as ambient, "Valtari" by Sigur Rós is definitely atmospheric. It is, however, more than simply ambient: there are stunning post-rock dynamics at play along with subtle orchestral moments, exquisite vocal harmonies and wonderfully ethereal choral pieces that stir the soul; all these factors gently temp this album out from the background.

I think the involvement of Jónsi's partner, Alex Somers, is apparent. There is an elegance to this music that could be lost if attention isn’t wholly given. The band, with Somers, have a remarkable understanding of sound that pervades every one of Valtari’s 54 minutes.

Truly magical.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

017/100: "Kveikur" by Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós are one of my favourite bands and their seventh studio album, "Kveikur", has become a destination when I am looking for something upbeat and loud.

"Kveikur" is their first album as a three-piece, recorded after the departure of Kjartan Sveinsson, and it really gives me hope for the band’s future.

Each Sigur Rós album has its own idiosyncrasies, and "Kveikur" is no exception: it is a broad, vibrant, wall-of-sound; with Jonsi's rather unique vocals contributing to the overall ambience exceptionally well.

From the opening of “Brennisteinn” you know you are in for an outstanding ride.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

016/100: "If You Wait" by London Grammar

I think it is too easy to label music as belonging to your preferred genre of disdain and subsequently ignore it. When we do this, however, I believe we lose out.

I could have easily dismissed "If You Wait" by London Grammar but I didn't. I gave them a go and, in doing so, discovered a wonderfully rich, powerfully immersive musical experience from the trio of Hannah Reid (vocals), Dan Rothman (guitar) and Dominic 'Dot' Major (keys & drums)

London Grammar create emotive soundscapes that revolve around Reid’s distinctive vocals. Her voice is rich & utterly beguiling, complementing the music so completely.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, April 20, 2015

015/100: "Twilight Kingdom" by Lisa Gerrard

There is something unmistakable about Lisa Gerrard's voice ... it is otherworldly and timeless, ethereal and magical;

I have followed Gerrard's work since her involvement with Hans Zimmer on the score for Ridley Scott's epic, "Gladiator". I subsequently discovered "Dead Can Dance", the exceptional band she co-founded with Brendan Perry.

Gerrard's album, "Twilight Kingdom", is a prime example of her ability as a musician. Her voice is stunning on this release: a deep, robust, mournful contralto; an emotive voice heard by the heart as much as the ears that, when matched with the engaging orchestration, creates a truly masterful album.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

014/100: "If You Leave" by Daughter

“If You Leave” by Daughter is an astonishing album, one that somehow always seems to catch me off guard whenever I put it on my hi-fi.

I find the combination of Elena Tonra’s exquisite voice and the cinematic walls-of-sound from guitarist Igor Haefeli, drummer Remi Aguilella and Tonra herself on bass to be utterly intoxicating and deeply intriguing.

Daughter’s music can easily fill a room and sometimes that's all you want. Their indie soundscapes have a presence worthy of 4AD.

I am entranced by the intricate details presented on “If You Leave”, details that reward your attention.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

013/100: "How I Live Now" - music by Jon Hopkins

I have a thing for Jon Hopkins' music just now and I am rather taken with his soundtrack for "How I Live Now", a film that portrays a war-torn England and stars Saoirse Ronan as the main character, Daisy.

The soundtrack opens with a powerful track from Amanda Palmer then goes on to showcase Hopkins' exceptional soundscapes: short, emotive ambient pieces that fill me with joy and wonder.

This soundtrack is very much Hopkins ... two further vocal tracks are present: from Daughter (remixed by Hopkins) and from Natasha Khan (with Hopkins) ... and is richer because of his inspired direction.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, April 17, 2015

012/100: "Solo" by Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm recently released "Solo" on "Piano Day", a day intended to celebrate the piano as an instrument.

"Solo" is an emotive delight: delicate, nuanced, mature; just Frahm & piano using the space between the notes with as much precision as the notes themselves. The album was conceived from eight improvised pieces recorded in one sitting on the world's tallest piano: the Klavins 450. Situated in Germany, the 450 weighs 1.8 tons, is 3.7 meters tall, and was built for Piano Day.

"Solo" is lovely: the outpouring of a talented individual ... something I will cherish for a long time to come.

For more, got to

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

011/100 - "And Silence" by Colbets

"And Silence" by Japanese duo Saitoh Tomohiro and guitarist Kari Takemoto, collectively known as Colbets, is another sterling release from Gavin Catling's Twice Removed microlabel.

The release consists of 61 minutes of the very best and most engaging ambient soundsculptures: 5 tracks that take me, as the listener, on a compelling journey into Colbets' beautifully nuanced and expertly handcrafted aural world.

I am really rather taken with this release: it has an unforced intentionality to it that I find appealing, particularly after a long and busy day in the office, a restful nature that gently persuades rather than forcefully demands.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

010/100 - "World Music" by Goat

Psychedelic has become a buzzword in alternative music circles. Some bands, however, deserve the title. One such band is Goat, the experimental rock band from Sweden.

Their album - "World Music" - is worthy of anyone's attention with its Afrobeat styling, hypnotic rhythms, and vocals that use repetition & combined unison to great effect. It is a swirling, floaty, psychedelic smorgasbord of sound that is expertly sequenced for maximum pleasure.

"World Music" feels like an authentic addition to late 60s / early 70s psychedelia and yet it is from 2012. I love this album and can only imagine what their live shows are like.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

009/100: "Soma" by Audio Mainline

I regularly receive music from musicians and labels who appreciate my thoughts on their latest offering. One such gift was the "Soma" from a new group called Audio Mainline, on Invisible Agent.

"Soma" is reminiscent of the output from San Francisco's seminal downtempo & house label, Om Records, with its chilled electronics, delicate rhythms and exceptional female vocals. What sets Audio Mainline apart is their choice of guest vocalists, each with their own unique voice and expression.

I particularly enjoyed “evolving” with its captivating otherworldly vocal or the title track with its laidback elegance.

This is a truly magical EP.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, April 13, 2015

008/100: "Glider" by The Sight Below

One of my favourite sub-genres of electronic music is techno. I love deep, expansive, synthy soundscapes married to the trademark 4-4 beat ... I find can easily lose myself in its beautiful expression.

I was therefore delighted when I found out about “The Sight Below”, an ambient techno project from Rafael Anton Irisarri. His 2008 release - “Glider” - on the seminal Ghostly International label ticks all my boxes: exquisite ambience from manipulated guitars rather than synths ... combined with the familiar techno rhythm.

I find the ambient and techno elements of “Glider” work well together to provide a truly immersive experience.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

007/100 - “Amazing Tales of Time and Space (waag_rel067)” by Cousin Silas and Kevin Lyons

I love visual music. I have always been drawn to ambient music that paints pictures in my mind, music that conjures up the places and spaces that I can only read about in sci-fi novels and weird fiction.

“Amazing Tales of Time and Space (waag_rel067)” by the enduring partnership of Cousin Silas and Kevin Lyons transports me to alien landscapes and disreputable townships, the kind imagined by visionaries such as Lovecraft or Aldiss; It makes for captivating listening albeit not entirely restful if one is gifted with a vivid imagination.

This is an exceptional release from two inspired musicians.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Circumambient 030 is now up on Mixcloud


After a short break … circumambient … an exploration into all-encompassing and immersive independent music is back with a mix intended to showcase some exceptional music that was released in the first quarter of 2015.

Music from my netlabel, weareallghosts, features prominently … bolstered by soundscapes from Colbets, Valiska & Zenjungle, twincities, Hessien, and Federico Durand; the mix is brought to a close by a wonderful track from Bruno Sanfilippo’s new album “Inside Life”.

Here’s to the rest of 2015. Dive deep!




For the iTunes link or the links to each of the albums, follow this link > circumambient 030

006/100 - "Europe" | a compilation from A Strangely Isolated Place

Compilations are another means for me to find new music. Like a good mix they delight and educate through the selector’s intention. “Europe” is one such compilation.

Curated by Ryan Griffin, the driving force behind, “Europe” is very special: a compilation that embraces multiple genres such as ambient, modern classical, and electronic with great effect; creating a soundtrack based around inspiration found within Europe.

One highlight for me is Dextro’s “Heaval”. Initially based around layers of acoustic guitar and piano with an euphoric backbeat, to my delight it morphs into languid ambience. Two tracks for the price of one.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, April 10, 2015

005/100 - "Dilate" by Vessels

I’m not sure how I got into Vessels but, from the many times I have enjoyed “Dilate”, I am glad I did.

Vessels play an expansive form of rock-infused techno. Not the cliched view, however: a solitary chap in Detroit pushing buttons in his bedroom ... far from it. Vessels are a quintet from Leeds who shape their particular form of atmospheric dance music together.

Coming as they have from post-rock, it is their exemplary use of both layers and sound that makes the album stand out. “Dilate” has a crafted, intentional feel and is, as such, a delight.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

004/100 - "Read, Write, Execute" by Wired to Follow

Billed as "soundscape rock", I cannot think of a better way to describe the music from Wired to Follow on "Read, Write, Execute".

This release, like the EPs before it, contains driving, bass-heavy, instrumental rock music juxtaposed with thoughtful ambience; it captivates the heart, and ears, with its techno-inspired presentation.

Take “Dealing Lightning With Both Hands”, an exemplary track that begins as a delightfully ambient soundscape before morphing into a full-on, euphoric expression that can only lift the spirit. It is a real scene-setter, one that sits nicely as the first track on my gym playlist.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

100 days | 100 words - an introduction ...


I need to learn to be concise. 

Even that sentence is too long, too inflated, too full of unnecessary words. It should read “I need to be concise”. Yes, it is something I need to learn but, more importantly, it is something I need to be.

Not that I am really being concise here. I like to chat when I write ... I like to tell stories and take people on a journey into the “why” of why I think a certain way. It is how I set the scene. The problem is, however, that these tools, these means of communicating, are the antithesis of conciseness. 

Life is busy. Folks are busy. You are busy. You don't have time to read my scene-setting and storytelling, or endure my chat. You just want the facts. In and out. “Just the fax, ma’am” as John Mclain once quipped in a Die Hard movie the number of which I forget. 

So to aid me in my quest for conscious and subconscious conciseness, I have started a thing on here called “100 days | 100 words”. Inspired by #The100DayProject put forward by Elle Luna & The Great Discontent my intention is to write an album / EP review of approximately 100 words each day for 100 days.  

“Basically, if you can dream it, you can do it. The only premise? Participants have to do the same action every day for 100 days, and they have to document every instance of 100. Sounds totally cool, right? That’s what I thought when I first read about this project on Design Observer. Not only were the projects clever, but they also offered an opportunity to grow in one of the ways my friends and I were craving: discipline. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.”
I have had a creative dip lately ... my creative mojo flatlined if I am truly honest ... and have come to realise that I need to learn the discipline of showing up day after day after day. I need to surrender to the process. I need to switch off the TV and Facebook, and just write. 

100 words isn’t a lot but it is more than enough to get the point across. I take too long getting to the point ... as evidenced here. That is what I need to learn - that's what being concise is - I need to get to the point. 

So here we go. 

Oh and I started two days ago.

Double oh and it took me until today to nail 100 words on the dot. It isn't as easy as you’d think. 

003/100 - “The Dusk Recital” by Slow Dancing Society

“The Dusk Recital” by Slow Dancing Society is the latest release from musician Drew Sullivan ... it is a six track EP that is filled to overflowing with the most delightful beat-laden instrumental ambience.

Everything about this EP works together: the tempo, the instrumentation, the order of presentation, the artwork; it is the aural equivalent of your favourite dark chocolate: smooth, sensual and deeply satisfying.

Take “Wake”, for example: a warm-bloodied, sensuous track that uses the combination of saxophone and guitar to great effect, conveying similar emotion to Vangelis' "Love Theme" from his seminal score for Blade Runner.


Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

002/100 - Late Night Tales | Jon Hopkins

A great mix is a seamless journey that introduces new music and provides the soundtrack to a moment - Late Night Tales recent mix from Jon Hopkins easily does both.

Hopkins effortlessly brings together multiple genres of music and serves them for both delight and education. Folk like Ben Lukas Boysen, Darkstar and Holy Other are all new to me whereas Jonsi & Alex, Helios and even Hopkins himself are all firm favourites. Combined, as they are in this mix, this is my current soundtrack and I love it.

This instalment in the Late Night Tales series is well worth checking out, especially considering the CD version comes bundled with a full mix and the non-mixed tracks to download.

- Tx

Why only 100 words?

Monday, April 06, 2015

001/100 - “Waves will rise on silent water” by A Sudden Burst of Colour

“Waves will rise on silent water” by A Sudden Burst of Colour is phenomenal EP from four young lads who live in my home town, Motherwell;

As instrumental rock goes this is up there with the best: engaging soundscapes, tight time signatures that chop and change at a moments notice, imaginative guitarists who complement each other well, and an intimate understanding of atmospheric dynamics … these factors come into play to create ASBOC’s sound. It is a sound I doubt I will tire of.

Instrumental rock is a busy genre and my hope for ASBOC is that they get the recognition they deserve.

- Tx

Why only 100 words?


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