Crone – Endless Midnight

Ever wonder what happens when an intelligent post-rock/metal outfit runs out of creativity?  They disband, that's what.  ISIS realized it was time to stop and thankfully so.  I think they realized it a bit late but "better late than never".  Much to the dismay of their dorky young male cult following, the first related project release is not metal … [Read more...]

Mountains – Air Museum

After sticking to laptop-treated acoustic sources for their first five years together, organic soundscapers Mountains, the duo of Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, have changed up their method on cleverly titled new album Air Museum. Leaving the software behind, they now stretch and tweak their sources with analog equipment like pedals and … [Read more...]

Six Organs of Admittance – Asleep on the Floodplain

Over the course of his 15 years recording as Six Organs of Admittance, Ben Chasny's output has morphed in a snaky, somewhat unpredictable manner much like his individual pieces and albums. Veering into drone here, speeding up a little there, approaching folk territory for a second before winding up tightly and then releasing the noise. It all … [Read more...]

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Stripping away the superfluous excesses of music, (overly busy drums, bass work that never finds a solid groove, guitar licks just overburdened with too many notes), leaves one with the bare bones, a skeletal framework if you will, in which there is ample space to explore tone, harmonic textures and slowly expressed melodic forms. This is something … [Read more...]

Kevin Greenspon – Common Objects

As the style has become popularized, what constitutes "ambient music" has expanded. Some of this diversification is surely due to the sheer weight of creative minds going to work, pushing and pulling the ambient paradigm in a great number of new directions. But it also seems like the term ambient has become a least common denominator descriptor for … [Read more...]

The Sunshine Factory – Sugar

When faced with a daunting challenge, such as writing an album review for a genre that you are generally not a fan of, what do you do?  Do you simply bash the album because of your lack of fondness for the style (the easy way)?  Or do you try your damnedest to gut through it (the arduous way)?  Well, to be honest, the whole shoegaze, dream pop … [Read more...]

The Fun Years – God Was Like, No

Sarcasm isn't a quality often found in music that swells and drones, but The Fun Years find a place for it in their heady mix of treated guitar and oscillating filters. Straddling the genre line between ambient and noise, the duo of Ben Recht (baritone guitar) and Isaac Sparks (turntable) gives the merest suggestion of humor with its titles (God … [Read more...]

bvdub – The Art of Dying Alone

DJ-turned-ambient maestro Brock van Wey's inclusion on Kompakt's Pop Ambient series last year breathed some fresh air into the series, injecting sweeping drama and emotion into a collection usually content to suggest drama instead of embodying it. While his palette shares much with Pop Ambient artists like Dettinger and Markus Guentner - repetitive … [Read more...]

Earth – Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular Extraction

In the late eighties/early nineties, amidst the burgeoning grunge movement in the Pacific Northwest, stood a lone figure with different ideas about how music could sound. That figure was Dylan Carlson, and those different ideas were the seeds that would grow into the seminal drone/minimalist outfit Earth. Bureaucratic Desire for Extra Capsular … [Read more...]

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Structural concerns aside, dream pop and shoegaze both principally hustle their wares through a textural esthetic – dream pop with an ethereal sheen of glassy reverb, wordless whispers, and blurry effects; shoegaze with languid waves of distortion, swells of feedback, and ripples of noise. But what if you completely removed the structure from both, … [Read more...]