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Tag Archives: downtempo

The Invisible Insurrection is Sven Weisemann’s second album released on Fauxpas Records based out of Germany. Released earlier this year, Desolate’s influences are clear from the beginning with UK-based 2-step act Burial being cited almost universally.

That’s OK though, because while there are obvious artistic influences between the two, there exists plenty of differences and quirks to make this album stand out on its own. And if you’ve listened to any of Burial’s records, you’ll soon come to rediscover this familiar collage of two step and a sort of a solemn and abstractly atmospheric sound that comprises the record.

Wistful piano pieces play across the record that accompany a subtle downtempo beat that provide a surreal warmth integrated with hushed vocal samples occasionally protruding from the woodwork adding to the isolation that the album captures.

In fact, that is one of the things that makes The Invisible Insurrection so great and those who have longed for another full length release from Burial since Untrue will find a refuge amidst the wonderfully contemplative and seductive sounds that listeners will find within.

The mash up between the laid back garage with its calm ambient backdrop certainly serves to provide a lot of opportunity to further the cinematic elements that the album relies upon to drive itself forward.

It’s not particularly hard to determine what level of downtempo music that the artist was after while creating the album with track titles like “Cathartic”, “Farewell”, “Pain”, and “Escape” – even down to the artist’s name and with that said, it may very well be more of a weathered and moody exploration into the genres illustrated here. It quickly becomes obvious that this is a very nocturnal album. Check out Subheim’s Approach if you enjoy this.

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Bitcrush is the ambient/downtempo/post-rock project of former Gridlock member Mike Cadoo. Stepping away from his earlier work of darker, more experimental IDM, and industrial, Cadoo brings together solemn melodies, ambient backgrounds, and hollow sounding drums, “In Distance” is a beautiful, calm and reserved piece of music. Melodies tend to be light, and airy coupled with with reverbed, slightly distorted acoustic drums. Lovely piano parts also drift in and out, adding colorful textures over slightly busier drum arrangements that glitch and stutter.

“Colder” shares with us a simple, yet prominent melody that starts slowly, and calmly, until bursting into an almost dissaray of chaotic, whiney guitars and deep, piercing snares. The song has a very barren and empty feeling to it exactly as the album cover depicts; a forest in the dead of winter. Frost lines the ground and snow is dusted upon leafless tree branches. The skies are grey for miles with hardly a hint of sunlight, and all is still and peaceful.

The bleak ambience of the music compliments the more solid rhythms quite well. Great attention was paid to detail in terms of the arrangements of the waves of ambient synths that glide effortlessly to create a serene atmosphere that really touches the deepest emotions. This album is full of surprises and creative innovations that blur the lines of IDM and post-rock and results in a sound that is rich in emotions.

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“Vines and Stream” is the debut album from Welder. Providing the listener with melodic and chilled out electronic work and incorporating some nice stutters and other effects. The music has a fluid quality that utilizes light pads and deep bass lines keep the melodies smooth. This album seems to have drawn influences from many different sources, but focuses on combining a more middle-eastern sound with big, downtempo rhythms. A variety of instruments such as foreign percussion and wind instruments to strings and guitars.

Under the repeating phrase “And we’re dying” there is a hidden, but graceful melody. The percussion in this track add spaciousness with reverb while the vocal sample lazily recurs. The focus of this track is mainly minimalist, but with subtle changes here and there that sprinkle a little spice into the mix.

Overall, an extremely well put together album that can fit into just about any situation to listen to. Dabbling with experimental elements in the broad range of acoustic instruments combined with an electronic grounding, “Vines and Stream” makes for a very creative chill-out experience.

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Released in 1997, “Colours” is still just as fresh a record as it was 12 years ago. The album showcases wonderful breaks with beautiful acoustic instruments, while keeping a sort of minimal groove; nothing too complex. Another feature is guitars that jam with a jazz groove over the syncopated beats or the occasional muted trumpet. A more downtempo side is also prevalent in tracks like “Colours” that casually move with smooth, melodically guided brass instruments.

“The Tree Knows Everything” seems to be the brightest track on the record, in that it has the most laid-back feel. Everything about the track just makes everything feel better, and that in the end, the little things in life don’t matter. The breezy, jazzy guitar dance over the luscious vocals while sweet pads flow in the background.

The chilled, and easy-going qualities of some tracks are nicely counteracted by the more upbeat tracks that gives the listener a great range of contrasts. Not only in tempo do tracks differ but in mood and style. While some tracks are more easy-going than others, these other tracks have a darker, more serious tone that almost keeps the listener from becoming too lost in the more light and airy melodies.

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“Emergence” is the resulting album of the work from Trifon brothers, Laurence and Brian. The album brings elements of post-rock, ambient, and glitch and combines them in a way that feels very natural. Subtle glitches and stutters work behind the fronted synths that make  while more noticeable ones add emphasis and intricacy on slower melodic lines. The wide variety of influences keeps the album fresh, and keeps its replay value high; honestly it’s like finding a little something new with every listen.

“Parks on Fire” shows a striking resemblance to BT’s “1.618.” The stutter and glitch techniques are executed superbly with the guitar’s melody which stirs and toils endlessly around hard drums and metallic effects; toying with time signatures with syncopated rhythms in 3/4. The track also has an ambient backing that breathes an extra depth into the track near the end that ties everything together.

As the album unfolds later on, more influences of trip-hop and post-rock are exhibited. Guitars with an abundance of reverb, backed by ambient chord progressions lead tracks above and beyond in terms of atmosphere. Even in “Terminal A” a Boxcutter-like dubstep feel is introduced while atonal, plucked notes on guitar and processed effects play along behind. This album is truly one of a kind, and the kind of music that can’t be found anywhere else.

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Opening with a serene and savory mood, “Skylon” delivers a chilled, psychedelic voyage. Downtempo rhythms coupled with silky melodies offer some amazing aural candy, as well as a relaxation treatment for the mind. Extraordinary atmospheres transport you to an alternate reality where everything is meshed together as a single entity. An entity that is constantly changing and evolving.

“The Queen of All Everything” is basically the star track of the album here. Sensuous, delicate chords glisten and resonate as highly processed vocals with a great feeling of yearning really draw out intense emotions; like a feeling of perpetual happiness from being with someone who you care deeply for, but an almost heartbroken sentiment develops at the same time.

The album picks up speed quickly after with “Rogue Bagel;” a more up-tempo and grooving track with psychedelic, melodic female vocals that contribute a coolness, and liquid consistency.

The latter portion of this album, in my opinion, uses these first few tracks as musical springboards, but keeping to the psychedelic feel in that it is always moving, and never stagnant. This album draws forth a wide range of emotions; from contentment to crestfallen, and everything in between, the thick, warm quality of this album will no doubt have you listening more than once.

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From Jon Hopkins comes “Contact Note.” This album blends ambient textures, acoustic guitar riffs, smooth vocals and more in a wonderful package. It gracefully encompasses these genres in a down-tempo manner. The rhythms are groovy and complemented with smooth bass lines. The album also features great female vocals which add so much depth to the ambient tracks. As they intertwine, and harmonize with each other they glide over warm pads and pianos that gently move across each track.

Piano plays important roles in this album which range from adding a lush melody, to guiding the listener through rich, ambient soundscapes with sparsely played notes. IDM elements are introduced as well. Minimal glitches sprinkle just a bit of spiciness over the course of the album. The moving rhythms are solid, and not too complex, however they move the album along quite nicely. The samples are clean and layer smoothly over one another adding a full, expansive sound at times. As a whole this album is a relaxing, yet thought-provoking, and beautiful.

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posted by Unctuous


Sines and Singularities” is simply overflowing with juicy sounds and beautiful atmospheres. Bluetech paints vivid pictures of luscious landscapes; like standing in a rainforest of music full of ever-evolving sounds. Bluetech’s music is quite simply a musical ecosystem. The music is always growing and changing form, taking on it’s own sort of metamorphosis. The word “organic” is what I think describes this music the best. The music’s constant motion is breathtaking and there is much attention paid to detail. Like taking time to notice individual veins in a leaf.

These tracks create such vivid images like fresh dew on blades of grass, or the cool, damp air in a forest after just having rain where plant life is abundant. Nearby a rolling stream can be heard as water trickles down rocks, and all is peaceful. You can also hear amphibious life, and cicadas chirping in the morning air.

Listening to this album creates a feeling of being refreshed as if having just bathed under a waterfall in a remote forest. From start to finish this is an amazing piece of ambient music, and was what sparked my interest to explore more psybient. Every second of this album is a treat for the ears and mind.

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Aleph Zero Records

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posted by Unctuous

The Atomica Project - Grayscale

Wow, what can I say? I’m not even half way done with listening to this album for the first time, and I’ve added it to my to-purchase list (physically, of course). Trip-hop with brilliant female vocals. It’s a very well composed, very detailed album; you can hear how much effort was put into it. I’d like to think that I listen to quite a bit of music, and this particular album stands out immediately. In a similar vein to Portishead and Hooverphonic. The Force is strong with this one. Album description on the website:

Grayscale, the highly anticipated sophomore release from The Atomica Project, embodies in itself the struggle of its execution. Taking nearly 3 years to complete, Grayscale is filled with elaborate narratives of failure and recovery. Loosely based on the dramatic climate of Lauren Cheatham and Wade Alin’s adopted home of Chicago, many of the tracks draw parallels between the cinematic storms of the Midwest and the turmoil of interpersonal relationships.

The download on Flagrant Records is $10 USD, while the physical album (CD format) is $12 USD (update: $10, same as download) . This is the second full length record by this group, the first is called Metropolitan, and for some reason, having not even listened to it yet, I have a very strong feeling that it is as great of an album as Grayscale, if not moreso.

Looks like they’ve got another release in the pipeline.

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– Artist profile @ Flagrant Records

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Underrated material here. Two years since Bryan Michael’s last full length release (entitled Principles of Suffocation in 2007), we get to hear a brand new record called A Dog Lost in the Woods. Fantastic tunes; recommended. Many of these songs almost have a metallic feel to it, especially notable in Solip; which is not to say that it’s a particularly cold record. Au contraire, this is very upbeat and rhythmic IDM, reminiscent of songs like Drink Malk by Ochre, the City Rain (who is also signed to Electronic Eel, by the way) remix of Obfusc’s Amateur Cartography, etc. Awesome album; $12 at the label’s website. Samples here.

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posted by admin.