Monday, September 28, 2009

Pull Up A Chair

As the summer draws to a close, the relaxing sounds that have been keeping me company in the garden on many a warm evening are sure to feature in the soundtrack of my autumn whilst looking onto the outside from the comfort of my sofa.

Top of the pile for laid-back listening is LJ Kruzer's excellent Manhood & Electronics LP on Uncharted Audio. Equal parts synthesised ambiance and lazy piano melodies, this LP has fitted the bill perfectly on several occasions when the repetitive 4/4 thump that typically soundtracks my life doesn't quite suit the moment as I'm looking to totally unwind. Squeezing 10 tracks into 34 minutes might suggest a fast pace but things couldn't be further from the truth here and as each piece unfolds, you are dragged deeper into the soothing textures Stephen Fiske has conjured up. As hinted by the title, the album was written whilst LJ Kruzer was on on the brink of fatherhood; a timing that can only have assisted with developing the rich emotions exhibited within the album.

LJ Kruzer - Tam // Uncharted Audio buy

With a lengthy list of releases and remixes under his belt spanning the last 16 years, Chris Jeffs aka Cylob has established himself as an electronica producer of considerable note. His largely instrumental work for labels such as Rephlex, Breakin' and his own Cylob Industries also feature on numerous compilations although it's perhaps the disjointed electronica pop of Rewind! that is arguably one of his better known tracks. Jeffs' latest project is known as Ambient News and his album of the same name showcases yet another angle of his take on abstract electronics. Encompassing bells, playful melodies, abstract guitars and a whole plethora of effects, Ambient News delivers a pleasant dose of laid back tunes spanning the ambient and downbeat electronica genres. If you're new to Cylob and like what you hear here, his back catalogue certianly provides plenty of space for exploration; and somewhat generously, you can get your mitts on a healthy pile of it for free via his website.

Ambient News - Lang // Cylob Industries buy

Taking things about as deep into ambient listening as possible, the next release to feature today is another offering from the excellent Highpoint Lowlife stable. Alpine's 'fr:om harmed weather to stark, micro, climates' isn't exactly the snappiest album title I've ever heard but if repeating the name gets your tongue in a twist the ambient sounds that follow will help it unravel itself as the pace of life here provides plenty of time for thought. With abstract ideas incorporating running water, birdsong, passing planes and all manner of other sonic observations this stuff certainly isn't going to generate much movement from your limbs but if you're looking for some intrigue in your headphone listening then it could be just the ticket.

Alpine - micro, // Highpoint Lowlife buy

Dance music DVDs are one of those things that always seem interesting whilst still in the storefront but when you get them home, rarely seem to make repeated viewing. This isn't down to the quality of goods on offer but sitting in front of a TV when great music is booming out never really seems appropriate. Nevertheless, there must be a market for this stuff and one of the latest acts to venture into this ambitious world is Minilogue. Their Animals album has been a a firm favourite of mine right since it's release last year and even some 18 months on, makes regular visits to my turntables. The mellower cuts to be found on the CD version's second disc are more for the home than the first CD (and vinyl version) and it seems fitting that these tracks form a large part of the soundtrack for 'Animals the Movie'. While this DVD isn't the kind of thing you're likely to want to give undivided attention to for repeated viewing, it's an excellent piece of work and as background entertainment whilst chatting with friends it holds its own as the music still sounds fresh and when people devote a few minutes to watching the visuals, the constantly evolving images provide an extremely pleasant interlude. The official release for this DVD was a good few months back now but it's limited presence in the UK is perhaps the main reason why I haven't seen it given much press. You can however, pick up a copy online.

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