Tag Archives: Ambient

Top 30 Albums of 2015: 30-16

2015, overall, has been a year of slight disappointment when it came to music. There’s been a few releases I highly anticipated but ended up being a tad disappointed in, but that hasn’t stopped some rays of sun coming through. So here it is, the first half of my end-of-year-list for releases. A lot of these ended up being EPs for some reason.  Continue reading

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Top 30 Albums of 2014: 15-1

This is it, these are my top fifteen albums for 2014. There’s some great stuff here that I hope you check out and become as obsessed with as I did. Hope you all have a merry Christmas and a fantastic time with your friends and family. See you in 2015! Continue reading

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Top 30 Albums of 2014: 30-16

Here’s the first half of the top 30 albums of 2014! While this year didn’t impress me anywhere near as much as last year, there were still dozens of great releases, especially in the second-half of the year. I guess as well, since this year has been very quiet for the Rich Reviewz blog (for personal reasons – 2015 will be the return of regular posts), you can see all the albums I’d wish I could have spoken about. Continue reading

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Tim Hecker / Julianna Barwick Live Review (RNCM, Manchester. 1/4/14)

Many months ago, after hearing that Tim Hecker would be performing in Manchester, I knew in a snap moment that I had to go. There was no way I was going to miss it – alone or with other people – and for £14.50 it seemed like an absolute bargain, especially considering that it was to take place in the Royal Northern College of Music. A real venue for music. On the 1st of April, I spent my morning in work, had a quick nap and a frozen pizza, and then set off to the venue while itching with excitement…  Continue reading

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Introducing #6…

This is basically the new discoveries I’ve been enjoying over the December 2013/January 2014 period… and most of it is metal – so there’s no hip-hop or electronica here, sorry!

OOZING WOUND

The way I found out about Oozing Wound was seeing their LP “Retrash” at my local record shop back home, I really liked the artwork on the front, it caught my eye to say the least. So remembering the band name, I went home and looked them up, disappointed that they weren’t what I was expecting (I’m still not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the result). Yet I still kept seeing that artwork pop up on the net and eventually I gave them another go early in December. My wrongs were righted.

Oozing Wound is basically a whole lot of fun wrapped up in thrash metal. Despite the video for Call Your Guy (my favourite track of theirs, that riff for the first half: urgh!), it’s like they replaced the source of good thrash – beer – with psychedelic drugs. It’s not like they get proggy either; it just sounds like three guys in a room jamming on some other plane.

If you like your thrash, then there’s no real excuse to not enjoy them in some way. It may take a few listens but it’s definitely worth it.

Listen to: Call Your Guy, Everyone I Hate Should Be Killed, Autopsy Turvy.

LUMBAR

Despite being a fan of Mike Scheidt I was a bit dubious when I heard about Lumbar: I only knew of Mike and I wasn’t sure how much of an input he had, as I knew this wasn’t “his” project. Eventually I got round to it and was blown away. Lumbar is aptly named so because Aaron Edge (far right) was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; which affected his ability to play music yet somehow it is Edge who plays all the instruments on this album: Scheidt and and Tad Doyle only providing vocals.

Reading about Edge’s troubles and inspiration for the record (a great and insightful interview with him and Scheidt here), it’s absolutely astounding to know that he fought the pain and struggles and managed to come up with an album that blows a lot of the other doom releases of 2013 out of the water. “The First and Last Days Of Unwelcome” is a seven song album that somehow manages to straddle both the old school doom vibe and the crushing heaviness of the more modern waves of sludge.

Definitely a must for doom and sludge fans. I rarely ever pay for digital albums (I rather and often pay a little more for physical) but after hearing the album twice before heading home for Christmas, I quickly purchased the digital download to listen to continually on the train, so worth it. Also, there’s a neat use of Ennio Morricone’s “The Man With The Harmonica” at the end of Day Six.

Listen to: Day One, Day Four, Day Six.

SYNSOPHONY

Synsophony are one of those noisy drone/ambient projects that can pride itself on creating some truly dark, haunting yet entrancing music. The duo, Tom Pryce and Ollie Borgstein, culminate the use of guitars, piano, cello, harmonica, vocals and electronics into depraved soundscapes, but there is beauty inbetween the darkness.

The guys have two tracks (and so two releases) so far: 2010’s “Karmic Existence” and 2014’s “Rabbit Hole”. The former is a 23-minute monster that teases you in for about 6 minutes before releasing seismic noise and feedback on you; getting louder and louder and more abrasive until it collapses into a sweet ambient state for the rest of the time. Rabbit Hole, a shorter experience at just under 13-minutes, feels similiar to the style of Pharmakon, but doesn’t fall into as clear a rhythmic structure and again increases in volume and intensity, giving you brief ‘break’s here and there.

These two releases are pretty promising from these two and it’ll be interesting to see what they would do with an album format. If you love your drone dark and noisy, give these guys a go.

Listen to: Rabbit Hole, Karmic Existence.

EAGLE TWIN

What do you get when you mix Tom Waits-esque vocals and lyrics with doomy Melvins? THIS. Already being a fan of Ascend (his project with Greg Anderson), I’d been meaning to give Gentry Densley’s Eagle Twin a listen for a long time and only got around to it before Christmas… Needless to say, I loved what I was hearing with the slow off-kilter guitar/drums along with rough and almost crooning vocals.

Eagle Twin is the only band on here who isn’t relatively new, having been in action since 1997, yet only has two albums and two splits to their name. Despite this, the duo have a strong reputation in the underground doom scene and it’s easy to see (or hear) why with both their recordings and live performances. They have managed to carve a signature sound of their own that no-one has dared to imitate.

Basically, if you like your doom to be a little bit more experimental, Eagle Twin is the band to go to.

Listen to: Snake Hymn, And It Came To Pass That Birds Fell To Earth As Black Snakes, Ballad of Job Cain Part II.

SO STRESSED

It seems like so far that I’m just too cynical for my own good: again, seeing the band name and their an album title “Attracted To Open Mouths”, I assumed they would be an average powerviolence band – granted I love powerviolence, but there’s an abundance of it right now. What I heard instead was a different thing, I began nodding my head and blanking everything else out, it grabbed my full attention.

I won’t repeat myself all over again, you can check my review of their debut here. I was just massively impressed and have been listening to the thing regularly over the past few weeks.

Listen to:  Little TVSecret BreastsAnimals Seeking Political Asylum.

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The Haxan Cloak – “EXCAVATION” Quick Review

The Haxan Cloak - Excavation

The Haxan Cloak – Excavation
Genre: Electronic/Drone

Label: Tri Angle Records

The Haxan Cloak is the electronic/drone project of London-based Bobby Krlic, and if the album cover doesn’t already give it away, he produces some of the most dark, haunting and atmospheric electronic music to come out of the UK for a long while. “Excavation” is his second full-length album, the first being a self-titled released in 2011. Continue reading

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Top 10… Drone bands/artists

Drone (often interlinked with either ambient or doom metal) is exactly what it says on the tin: heavily reverbed/echoed  sustained sounds by chosen instruments/vocals going through a ton of effects or loops. The drawn-out and slow tempo nature of the music often means the songs are fairly long in comparison to your pop chart hits – expect at least a 10-minute song average on a lot of drone albums.

The history of its coming dates so far back through history that it’s near impossible to sum up in a handful of paragraphs, but perhaps one of the most famous traditional form of drone music may be that of the Tibetan Buddhist chanting – the influence of which can be easily heard in the likes of Om or Sunn O))).

For this reason, it seems to be something of an acquired taste, most likely to touch on some sort of emotion with people who are considerably patient and open to what can be classed as “music”, but probably something that would drive your average Skrillex or Lady Gaga fan to despair.

That said, I’m a big fan and find it really relaxing to listen to, so here is a list of my personal favourites in drone (doom or ambient): Continue reading

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