Category Archives: ambient

Low – “Days Like These”

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Low’s first release from their upcoming Hey What, due out in September, is simple and sparse, relying mostly on subtlety to convey its voice. The a capella opening descends at the end of each line with chorus effect that sounds as much like organ as a human voice, yet remains very organic. Around the minute mark, the chorus of voice… Read more »

Pan American (self-titled) and Pole 1

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Album covers for Pan American (Self-Titled) and Pole 1

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon and I’m in the drive-thru at Taco Bell in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. It’s 1998 and I’m thrilled to finally have a Taco Bell in my neighborhood. I’m bored with the stash of CDs in my pickup so I’m flipping through radio stations when a sound I’ve never heard floats into my ears. A lazy beat… Read more »

Actress – Karma & Desire

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Album cover for Actress "Karma & Desire"

Bob once said that the Rolling Stones can’t write a song, they only write riffs. The same could be said about Actress. On Karma & Desire, however, Darren Cunningham pushes his riffs and challenges himself and his collaborators. Karma & Desire doesn’t rely on the factory drones that open 2014’s Ghettoville, but it builds the same grey mood. Cunningham and… Read more »

Brian Eno – Thursday Afternoon

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Album cover for Thursday Afternoon by Brian Eno

Released: 1985 The Paul Stolper Gallery is showing the video for Thursday Afternoon in their front window and on their website (with a helpful write-up) from February 24 through March 15, 2021. Reverb Machine has an interesting analysis of the music. Thursday Afternoon is a single piece of music (60 minutes on album or 82 minutes in the video) that… Read more »

Actress – Ghettoville

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Released January 27, 2014 The opening track, “Forgiven,” creates a grey mood from its first notes. Its factory-like drone stretches for over seven minutes, the two chords changing in small and interesting ways yet staying the same. It’s the kind of song that could be annoying but makes me excited to hear more. Unfortunately, Ghettoville doesn’t deliver on the promise… Read more »

Review: Yellow6 – No Memories, Just Photographs

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Label: Silber Records Released: September 2015 Hiroshi Sugimoto took a lot of blurry photographs. Some are hauntingly beautiful and others just evade my understanding. It’s hard to say that the latter fails, so much as it seems that I have failed. So it is with Yellow6’s “photographs” as well. The stated goal of No Memories, Just Photographs is to express… Read more »

Review: Omni – Ghosts

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Label: Faux Pas Records (buy it at the band’s site) Released: May 2008 If you have any doubt that Radiohead has been tremendously influential on today’s rock scene, take a look at all the bands that have inherited Thom, Johnny and company’s particular take on Brian Eno. It’s everywhere from indie rock to post-metal and Omni is no exception. While… Read more »

Review: Moving Mountains – Pneuma

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Label: Deep Elm Records Released: May 13, 2008 Pneuma is an album that works more in noise than structure. Ambient layers and ambling indie rock rhythms are grounded by a more common vocal approach that alternates between whining and screeching and screaming. There is nothing pretentious about Moving Mountains’ deconstruction of rock though. It is experimental, but not simply for… Read more »

Review: The Drift – Ceiling Sky

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Label: Temporary Residence Limited Released: November 6th, 2007 You shouldn’t need this CD. After all, you should already have all of the Drift’s albums and you should definitely have them on vinyl. However, if you’ve missed either boat, the kind folks at Temporary Residence feel bad for you and have released this collection of The Drift’s non-CD tracks. For those… Read more »

Review: Alive in Wild Paint – Ceilings

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Label: Equal Vision Records Released: March 18, 2008 “The sky was cold-fire sunrise, the clouds alive in wild paint, but all of it blurred in the dynamite crescendo.” These words from Richard Bach’s Illusions not only give Alive in Wild Paint their name, but also their essence. Not only do they evoke soundscapes every bit as vivid as these words,… Read more »