Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top 36ish Drone/Ambient/Ex-spearmintal Jamez of 2010: Part 2 20-1

Yes indeed. The dream is over. Time for the wrap up of this sweet music of 2010 based frenzy. As I said before these 20 are all awesome. Get on the ball and grapple them up.

20. Pulse Emitter - Cosmic Images (Expansive)
Although I have a few Pulse Emitter releases I'm still a Pulse Emitter beginning. This is some great synth action here. It's a very patient album and it might be a little too emotionless for some but its good.

19. Sovetskaya Gone - Smiling Skies on the Back of Airplanes (Cylindrical Habitat Modules)
SG was the king of the roost in 2009 but they had some good releases this year two. For example this one. SG is also generally a purveyor of lo-fi noisy staticy drone. This is really nice. I feel like if you read this recommendation you won't check this out cause this recommendaiton is kinda boring. that's cause I'm tired. But you should check this out.

18. Driphouse - 50/50 (NNA Tapes)
Driphouse used to a be a lot more noisy and abrasive but has gotten gentler as time goes one. While I like most Driphouse releases, I think this is a good thing. This tape is good and  interesting work and packs a lot into a mere 24 minutes. That's enough time to have a nice listen and not shirk any duties you might have. Plus It seems longer (in a very good way). see you at goodway!

17. Bernardino Femminielli - La MontaƱa del Capricornio (Hobo Cult Records)
For some reason as i was writing about these I started at the beginning so I would be able to describe what I liked best without being tired and then as I worked down I realized this list was long so I needed to split it up so I skipped to describing the bottom so I could post that first. But then I just went ahead and finished it all and somehow this ended up being the last thing I wrote about on the list. The point of this ramble? I'm really tired of writing and also actually physically tired cause its late at night. So I can't do this justice. But you should check this out. It's two 30 minute tracks that take you on a sweet synth journey. It starts with a kraut-rock buildup and then moves into more expansive style drone wash as you soar from Montana to Capricorn. The B side is more mysterious, starting and ending in gentle suds of static sea with mysterious unanswered questions from mysterious synthy inquisitors sandwiched in between.

16. 1958-2009 - II (Ekhein)
These guys are Alex Twomey and Matthew Sullivan, they of many other projects, but I like Sullivan best as Earn. This is apparently a tape trilogy (plus a live one) only moniker tribute to Michael Jackson. It doesn't sound anything like MJ unless MJ is in heaven and this is the soundtrack of heaven. Some seriously nice beautiful ambient drones. Actually all 4 tapes are pretty much the same (which is a good thing) but I feel for some reason that this one is the best. Really nice, especially for sitting down, lying down, staring, being motionless in complete darkness, thinking, being at total peace with the universe or other such like activities.

15. Mohave Triangles - Astral Holograms (Digitalis Limited)
Astral Holograms indeed! This is great release by relatively new artist Mohave Triangles (formerly Realms) (who is also a nice guy). This release is good but real Gem here is the A Side of the tape. I I could listen to this track again and again. Blissful noisy lo-fi psych drone with a great messed up sample of a guy talking about secret mind control projects. That probably sounds either awesome or cliche to you and I'm here to tell you that its awesome. It's a great little 30 minutes, especially side A.

14. Rene Hell - Porcelain Opera (Type) / 18:54 Torture Highway (Agents of Chaos)
Jeff Witscher here again. Jeff releases a lot of stuff under a ton of names. This year (and maybe last year) my favorite, and the most unique/creative one is Rene Hell. Of his many releases this year, I suggest these two which are both equally great. I keep saying I don't know how to describe things but I really don't know here. Hmm...a pleasant and relaxed version of being an Apple II hard drive as its crashing after you (as the drive) consumed some serious downer drugs (Codiene? Is Codiene a downer? What is Codiene exactly?)? The exact audio representation of a Paik Nam June installation, only better, plus sudden moments of serene bathing in an digital waterfall? Walking down a really long corridor with fake digital echos and then sometimes realizing you are flying on poorly rendered clouds? I dunno, basically its like carrying around a heavy handbag coated in lots of weird and digital murk and then opening the bag sometimes to discover glorious and lovely moments of mildly krautrocky drone and ambient (If you like ambient by the by, Jeff also does that really well as Marble Sky). Porcelain Opera is a little more hi-fi sounding than his normal no budget jams but no less good or weird. 18:54 is more like the rest of his stuff which is to say like Porcelain Opera but more lo-fi.

13. Concessionaires - Skyline (Gift Tapes)
I wasn't disappointed when I heard this like Jim, but it definitely wasn't what I expected. This sounds nothing like Pete Fosco's or Brad Rose's regular stuff and its not what you would think the sound like together. Which is pretty exciting. Personally, I loved this bad. It's definitely very slow moving and takes some patience but there is a lot of stuff to explore inside here and some really great sounds which make me feel some very interesting feelings. I don't know how to describe this really. The synths are both very crisp and also ancient and far away. Also the album art is really cool. (this isn't a very good pic of it. I think discogs has a better one) I want that on a shirt. A shirt made of gold!

12. Brett Naucke - Southern California (Arbor)
This is another great relaxing tape. Pretty new agey but I like that. It's really great for your life. If SoCal is like this then I guess I need to live there for ever. But I don't think its like this. But anyway this is fantastic. I listened to this a lot this year. It's good all the time for everything, except maybe party time. Or when you are wearing one of your gold encrusted shirts.

11. Bee Mask - Canzoni Dai Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico (Gift Tapes)
Bee Mask is a guy that is pretty diligent at making good sounds. I like a lot of his stuff (not all) but until now I just thought he was good. But this one breaks new ground for him and its an awesome tape from the venerable Gift Tapes. Lots of beautiful synth sounds here. Not as droney or quiet as some of his other stuff.

10. Flower-Corsano Duo - You'll Never Work in This Town Again (Non-Label)
This is pretty different from most of my list here but it belongs here because its insanely good. Flower and Corsano are improv noise rock/free music/free jazz dudes and the are two of the baddest dudes in the game. And these three songs are powerfully awesome. They are long and full power all the way through (I mean there are some dynamics here and different things happen sure, but...) so they might be hard to get through for some of you but man, I love it. Despite the fact that it ought to be played as loud as possible I love it best on headphones. I can't really understand the energy here especially on the first song its long, (17 minutes) and they just keep going at full speed. I suggest being in a mood were loud stuff doesn't annoy you, putting on headphones and listening to this straight through for all 43 minutes. You'll probably be tired afterward. But it'll be great. Maybe. Or maybe you hate it. I would really love to see this duo live.

9. Sean McCann - Lower Decks (Ekhein) / Open Resolve (Stunned)
as Jim mentioned, Sean (as usual) released a buttload of stuff this year. Although he is too creative and varied to pin down he generally takes two forms, one of a top notch ambient/drone creater, and the other as a noisy (not noise) experimental rock folk whatever guy. I did not hear it all, but what I did hear (a lot of it), I have sifted through with my drone sifting pan and would like to suggest that you check out these two. If you are an ambientist/dronester then Lower Decks will immediately strike you as ol' sean at the top of his form. Open Resolve is the other side of the McCann coin and is one of his best releases ever. It's not as easy to get into as its more noisy and wild, but let it hit you off guard in the right mood and you'll be trapped forever in spinning cage of your own desires. but, like, in a good way.

8. Lee Noble - Darker Half (Bathetic Records) / Our Star, The Sun (Moon Glyph)
Here's a fine fellow I knew nothing about before this year with 2 releases on 2 labels I knew nothing about before this year (thanks radiant now blog) It was difficult to choose between these two as they are both great. I imagine more of you might be into Our Star, The Sun, as Darker Half is, well, a little darker. But not really dark. Just lightly creepy. I don't really know how to descibe it. It's great. And its what I heard first so I for now I love it more. The first track (poorly named, Halloween Kiss) is the best.

Despite its title Our Star, The Sun really reminds me more of the moon. But then what is the moon after all but a barren, smaller, fireless, more relaxing, version of the Sun? In any case, this is some serious astral travel. And who doesn't love drifting in space for 93,000 miles until you crash into the sun (but like I said it turns out that the sun is the moon but a really far away and more mysterious version of the moon)? The tracks are pretty varied actually from noisy drone to acoustic laced psych to some modular sounding wonky space synths, but all maintain a delicious cohesiveness.

7. Brainworlds - ••• (Sonic Meditations)
Except for maybe emeralds or yellow swans there is not a lot of hype in tiny world of drone/psych/etc listeners. But perhaps one of the most underhyped dudes ever is Brainworlds. I don't think anyone ever talks abou him. Which is unfortunate both because his name (well probably not his real name but that would be even more amazing) is Brainworlds and because his music is awesome. Seriously meditative, shimmering, gentle ambient. I like all his stuff that i've heard but this is his best yet in my opinion. Top shelf relaxing gentleman's ambient right here. And its 60 minutes long so the goodness just keeps going and going. I know many of you are perhaps not into really long songs but for me, especially when we are talking ambient or drone, I hope that the songs are as long as possible, hopefully lasting forever without any interruptions. This gets pretty close. Plus Sonic Meditations is the label of the Expo '70 guy (Justin Wright) so you know you can trust this to be awesome. Even better, this album is available as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, something I always respect and love when bands do. What have you got to lose? click that link and go check it out! (P.s. I just found out that •••• is already out on Hooker Vision and ••••• is coming out next year. Stoked!)

6. Lunar Miasma - Crystal Covered (Basses Frequences)
I heard this around the same time I heard  the album following this on the list so although they are different they stick together with me as a kind of double album or perhaps split release. Lunar Miasma is Panos Alexiadis who is from Greece. I don't know anything about Greek music. But If he is not the top of the Whatever size drone/psych scene they got there then they must have some amazing crap going on there. I love the cover of this album.  I wish I had a huge version of that. Look at the cover there. That's pretty much what the music sounds like really. Jim is write that he has probably travelled in actual space. This album is mindblowingly good for me. Grade A Noisy Space Psych Dronebient.

5. Black Mountain Transmitter - Theory & Practice (Lysergic Earwax)
These dudes came out of nowhere for me and I loved this tape so bad from the moment I heard it. I wanted to buy it so bad but I went away or something suddenly and then i was all sold out. Although in real life I'm a bigger fan of Practice than Theory in this album life Theory is the best track. This should be rated higher on Jim's list. This is just some beautiful tones which develop into some more heavy beautiful tones. find a nice place to lie down.

4. Pete Fosco - Breath Radiant (Dial Square)
To use one of his apt song titles, Pete plays Infinite Starlight Blues. I think Jim is underrating this one, but then again Pete Fosco is my boy. I love everything he does but his solo stuff is the best (at least until he does my dream collab with Barn Owl, good idea right Pete? Do it man!). I don't know if Pete is actually good at playing guitar in a traditional sense but he's a guitar master. I've never seen him live but I imagine his guitar is not shaped like a guitar but like a vast mountainous mass of energy. Another thing I like about his jamz is the sound behind the sound. You know when you are listening to something (esecially something reverby or noisy or echoy) and there becomes several layers of sound some of which are intentional but some of which just happen because of physics or some science BS? This music has lots of that. And that's my favorite part of music or sound in general. Listen for that sound. It's in there. It's about 3 or 4 feet back in and its only about 2 inches tall and wide. It's fading in and out, its moving very slow and its also moving very fast.

3. Yellow Swans - Going Places (Type)
This is the last testament of the legendary Yellow Swans (and all other 1000 name varations) and although I was not one of their major fans this is their best to me. An impressive way to go out. Similar to the album that comes after it on this list but a bit more melancholy. I've never been in harsh noise or noise for noise sake. I suppose I didn't have a bad enough childhood or something. But this kind of melodic noise I could listen to forever. That's why it dominates my top picks. At first noise is noise and then there is a certain level it reaches where it becomes something different. Where it so intense that it doubles back on itself and becomes a new kind of quiet. The eye of the storm and and that perhaps? This is ambient music for a hurricane.

2. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Love is a Stream (Type)
I agree with everything Jim says about this. This is a monster and a monument. A friendly monster and a kind monument. Will be hard for him to top this or for anyone to top this ever. It's probably too noisy for many of you but its the most beautiful life affirming noise.

 1. Brian McBride - The Effective Disconnect (Kranky)
Bum ba Dum! Stars of the Lid could have a mondo huge BM on a Skateboard and then push it towards high school jocks hanging out in cool cars at an abandoned gas station and it would still be my number 1. This is up there with any other and all of their amazing releases. It's a soundtrack for a movie about bees dying. I don't know how it works there but it works fine here in my grubby lil' mind.

Phew! Well, that list was pretty much incredible. And what a huge rodsworth of lists I just did done with those! Time for bed. Hope there is something here you could find and like for future findlikes.


  1. paul.
    goood list mah man. BTW, the extra 'o' in goood is for the extra 'oooohhh' in your sounds. you really have an eye for these drones. keep up the good whork.

  2. paul,
    my bum is on the swedish swedish

  3. great list paco....a lot of stuff here to be checked out by me.

  4. i can't wait for this year's drone list!


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