Archive for ‘Ambient’

juin 27, 2010

The Album Leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers

Note : +

Un peu plus de trois ans après le sympathique Into The Blue Again, 2010 marque le retour aux affaires de The Album Leaf avec la parution d’un nouvel opus A Chorus Of Storytellers accouché sur la
longueur (et dans la douleur ?) suite à une panne prolongée d’inspiration de son leader.

Assez rapidement une sorte de malaise s’installe car, même une écoute prolongée, on peine à deviner les intentions de Jimmy LaValle. Tiraillé entre nécessité de ne pas couper le cordon le liant à
ses premières productions solitaires et volonté d’impliquer davantage ses comparses en studio comme en témoigne le titre de l’objet, le frontman de la formation de San Diego s’éparpille sans
parvenir à canaliser son inspiration. Assez paradoxal dans la mesure où, à de trop rares exceptions, tous les titres s’avèrent calibrés dans le temps mais surtout bâtis sur des structures
rigoureusement similaires : tapis d’electronica, violons mélancoliques et chant pop mis en avant. Pour un résultat en forme de chill-out folk/post-rock/ambient guère emballant. En effet, cette
succession de paysages cinématographiques apparaît désespérément linéaire, comme dénuée de relief. Plus ennuyeuses sont définitivement ces parties de cordes sonnant comme du Dirty Three sans
inspiration (« Blank Pages » ou « Within Dream ») ou comme une sorte d’Explosion In The Sky édulcoré (« Summer Fog »). Certes galvaudé depuis longtemps, ce genre d’envolées lyriques puisait sa force
dans la rupture qu’elles créaient avec le reste du morceau. Là, point de rupture, rien… juste un ensemble de violons amorphes et sans vie. Sans parler de ces rythmiques électroniques tellement
cheap et bancales qu’elles en deviennent rapidement gênantes. Ces babioles mises à part, A Chorus Of Storytellers demeure un disque souvent agréable à écouter et toujours admirablement bien
réalisé par le partenaire habituel de Sigur Rós (Biggi Birgisson). Très beau mais très ennuyeux également.

par Froggy’s Delight


Origine du Groupe : North America

Style : Electro Ambient , Downtempo

Sortie : 2010

Tracklist :

01. Perro

02. Blank Pages

03. There Is a Wind

04. Within Dreams

05. Falling from the Sun

06. Stand Still

07. Summer Fog

08. Until the Last

09. We Are

10. Almost There

11. Tied Knots


mai 26, 2010

Boy Is Fiction – Broadcasts In Colour

Note :

Origine du Groupe : Australia

Style : Electronica , Ambient , Downtempo , IDM

Sortie : 2010

Tracklist :

01. In (02:27)
02. As Far From Here As Possible (06:19)
03. Feeling Lazy (04:26)
04. Pinprick (02:52)
05. Silo (03:59)
06. Sand (06:12)
07. Rat (04:49)
08. I Close My Eyes (05:00)
09. Either Way, I’m Dead (04:28)
10. Your Name On My Skin (03:46)
11. I Left You There (04:49)
12. My Veins Are Blocked (06:45)
13. Until Morning Comes (04:51)
14. For My Friend (05:06)


Boy Is Fiction is a studio project by Melbourne producer Alex Gillett. His debut, self titled album was released in 2007. This is his second album released in earlier this year. His music “captures those quiet moments of introspection just before sleep”, a fusion of idm, ambient and electronica. Excellent album! Highly recommended!

mai 17, 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto – Out Of Noise

Note : ++

Origine du Groupe : Japan

Style : Piano , Electro , Ambient , Experimental

Sortie : 2009

Tracklist :

01. Hibari
02. Hwit
03. Still Life
04. In the Red
05. Tama
06. Nostalgia
07. Firewater
08. Disko
09. Ice
10. Glacier
11. To Stanford
12. Composition 0919


As a solo musician for 30 plus years, contributor to the groundbreaking Yellow Magic Orchestra, film composer, and relentless activist, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s body of work embodies a spirit more than it demonstrates an auteurism or trajectory of vision.  Sakamoto started at the peak of technology in the latter half of the 1970s experimenting with synthesizers and sequencers and starting a mini eastern hemispheric revolution by looking at traditional Japanese tonalities through electronics.  In 2009, he’s still on the forward-front of digital development, not only through his latest prolific phase of scores and collaborations with modernists like Alva Noto, Christian Fennesz, and Christopher Willits, but also through his latest deal with iTunes that will see him releasing every single show of his 2009 tour, downloadable online within 24 hours of the event.


The album that the tour is in support of, Out of Noise, Sakamoto’s first full-length solo work in 5 years, is aptly diverse and prescient, yet austere and sullen.  The title is a mystery as the album seems neither carved out of noise nor does it seem to be devoid of it.  Its technology is obscured by the subtlety of its implementation amidst traditional instrumentation and field recordings.  The only exception to this rule is the blissful droning of the wall-of-sound “Firewater”, which show Sakamoto learning a few tricks from his recent Austrian laptop composer partner Fennesz.  Unlike many aging musicians who grow out of touch and out of focus with modern music, Sakamoto’s latest is vibrantly in touch with the sounds of now, particularly the interstition between 20th or 21st century classical and the various post-Eno explorations of non-beat oriented atmospherics.


The album is unexpectedly bookended by what are Out of Noise’s most seemingly extrinsic pieces.  Commencement piece “Hibari” is 9 minutes of a single theme on a piano.  A world apart from minimalism though, the work transposes from a tempered slipknot to an elegant fumble that threatens to, though never succeeds in tripping itself up.  Instead the theme begins looping in odd spots and the tempos of each hand at the keyboard begin to slip away from each other.  The result is familiar sound made unfamiliar by it reconnections and collisions with other familiar sound.  The song’s space becomes hard to track as Sakamoto continues to fill them unexpectedly.


On the opposite end of the album is “Composition 0919”, a piece of Reichian simplicity also confined to the piano that, by contrast, locks both playing hands together in staccato spurts.  The notes ping pong between the left and right speakers and in aggressive movement with practically no low-end variation.  It’s also all-rhythm on an album that seems to repel or discourage said element in the rest of its numbers.


The remainder of the album mostly floats on waves of gentle and often gorgeous liquid ambience.  In fact, the back-to-back duo of “Ice” and “Glacier” are damp and drizzly slow-melting rocks.  Knowing Sakamoto, the leaking throughout “Glacier” is likely a comment on global warming, but beyond the insinuations lies a beautiful polar monolith carved from faint melody, feedback, and incidental noises reverberated sparsely across the icescape.  It’s a bleak loneliness, captured in long-shot as a splendid tragedy.  In its simplicity rests much of its appeal. 


“In the Red” similarly strips down tension and misfortune to a concise communication.  Tremoloed piano chords play in repetition as warm pads swarm in the backdrop and Kranky-style guitars plink scarcely while samples of a small bit of dialogue from an old man are looped and dragged across five minutes.  “I just feel like/ I’m a little lost but/  I’ll be alright”, he says in much slower succession, the final phrase repeating even as the song’s harmonies, a bit like a less ethereal version of recent Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie collaborations, disagree with the assessment of the speaker’s condition.  He finally concludes, at song’s end, “Yeah, I’m alive” with what seems like a sigh of resignation.


Resignation, but not surrender.  When Yellow Magic Orchestra made their comeback album Technodon in 1993, it boldly sounded nothing like the band who put their last album out ten years prior.  At Sakamoto’s age, he could easily surrender to the temptations of churning out just about any kind of retread for drooling fans to swallow, but instead he has put out a thoughtful, quiet album.  Sure, it’s not all as stoically graceful as the tracks described above.  “To Stanford” is hotel jazz probably cropped from a film score Sakamoto was working on and “Nostalgia” is just kind of boring and ineffectual.  Yet, Sakamoto’s aesthetic is such that he remains a towering figure even as the music industry falls and the ice caps melt.  Out of Noise fits neatly into that uncompromising legacy.

By Timothy Gabriele

mai 17, 2010

Rodrigo Leão – Cinema

Note : +

Origine du Groupe : Portugal

Style : Ambient, Down-tempo, Chillout, Mod-folk, Contemporary, Piano, Experimental

Sortie : 2004

Tracklist :

01 Cinema 2:41
02 Rosa 4:05
03 Lonely Carousel (feat. Beth Gibbons) 3:34
04 A Comédia de Deus 3:24
05 Jeux D’amour 4:13
06 Memórias 3:36
07 A Cidade Queimada 1:20
08 Deep Blue 4:10
09 Uma História Simples 1:53
10 Happiness 3:12
11 O Último Adeus 1:36
12 La Fête 3:19
13 A Estrada 2:59
14 L’Inspecteur 4:11
15 António 4:19


Rodrigo Leão is a Portuguese musician and composer. He was born in Lisbon in 1964. He became known for his musical compositions and participation in Portuguese bands such as Madredeus and Sétima Legião. He co-founded the band Sétima Legião in 1982 and Madredeus in 1985. As his solo career began to take shape, he chose to suspend his participation with the respective bands in 1993 and 1994. His solo work explores a combination of modern-classic compositions with more traditional song format and instrumentation. Several artists have participated in both his records and tours, such as Lula Pena or Adriana Calcanhotto in Alma Mater and Beth Gibbons and Ryuichi Sakamoto in Cinema. His album, Cinema, was very successful in the Portuguese market, reaching #1 in sales and its promotion concerts in Portugal and Spain were frequently sold-out. In this album, the eclectic roots of his music and the influence of cinema can be appreciated. Ana Vieira is the new member of the group providing the vocals.Neil Hannon participated in the album A Mãe of Rodrigo Leão and Cinema Ensemble..


avril 1, 2010

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Mutations [EP] :

Sortie : 2009
Style : Ambient , Electro

Tracklist :
1. caos calmo
2. münchen
3. serpent
4. twisted horizons
5. shadows
6. symmetry of 6’s
7. horns of king david
8. avian lung


En plus d’être un démon bondissant avec ses dread locks de break en break, Bong-Ra est aussi derrière un projet qui n’a en commun avec son alter ego que sa chevelure. The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, projet electro jazz, sort ici un album de remixes avant de sortir de sa cachette pour un nouveau disque en fin d’année.

Mutations n’est donc qu’un avant gout. Un amuse gueule pour faire patienter en attendant que les cuisiniers finissent de rajouter la touche finale à la pièce montée. Bon dieu et bien elle a intérêt a être bonne cette pièce montée parce que l’amuse gueule a de quoi faire perdre des étoiles à pas mal de monde !

Petite précision avant la déferlante de superlatifs : je ne connais pas l’album précédent. Je n’ai donc pas eu l’occasion d’étudier les chansons originales puisque ce disque réunit à la fois des titres remaniés du premier et du prochain album. Sans aucune appréhension je me suis glissé dans cet EP pour approfondir la question posé par ce nom mystérieux. Je n’ai découvert qu’ensuite que Bong-Ra figurait dans la liste des musiciens associés au groupe. Celui-ci compte sept nom et prénoms dont une chanteuse, pianiste, joueuse de xylophone, de flute et préposé aux « effets » dont l’approche minimaliste convient à merveille sur des chansons envoutante et enfumée. Les autres sont pianiste et bassiste, batteur et beat maker, joueur de trombone, guitariste, violoniste et enfin violoncelliste. L’atmosphère est chaude et lourde à la fois, on sent le club de jazz à travers les instruments ainsi que la sueur des salles de concerts où un dub lourd glisse sur les murs.

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble est bien un groupe d’electro jazz dans le sens où les directions sont multiples et toutes explorés. La maitrise de chacun pour s’exprimer pleinement sans jamais empiéter sur le territoire de l’autre est ahurissante. Certes, il s’agit de remixes et non de prises live. Pour autant, cela ne rend pas moins ces sept paires de mains moins méritantes de toutes les acclamations que devrait recevoir ce EP tant il y a a prendre dans cet intermède. La suite sera, parait-il, plus différente et moins électronique. J’attends de voir avec impatience et surtout d’écouter. Il y aura peut-être deux albums du même groupe dans ma liste des albums à retenir à la fin de l’année.



mars 4, 2010

Takahiro Kido – Fleursy music : +

Sortie : 2008
Style : Ambient , Electro , Alternative

Tracklist :
1. Y
2. Smile-Spotter Chronicle
3. Poco!
4. Milk Tea
5. You Lost What?
6. Landscape with Snow
7. Gentle Afternoon
8. Christmas Song
9. Izze
10. Good-Bye…



Fleursy Music » is a breathtakingly beautiful album by young Japanese composer. He creates music by merging electronics with many type of acoustic instruments such as piano, organ, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, sax, clarinet, flute, guitar, glockenspiel, accordion, melodion, drums and percussions. These instruments are remarkably well textured as he records in very unique situations – like in the tunnel, mountains, abandoned hotel lobby and concert halls – capturing the natural reverberations of the atmosphere. And after recording, he processes and carefully layers these sounds in his computer to obtain the perfect combination. The 10 tracks here were selected among over 150 compositions he made during these 2 years.