Wednesday 30 June 2021

The Third Dimension

Funasaka Yoshisuke - Blue and White space - 366 (1974)

I've spent today as the title suggests learning a whole new branch of software of the 3D variety. I've dabbled in it a touch in the past but have never really needed to go to this level, I'm pretty techy and I know a bunch of similar software already so it can't be that hard can it? (Spoiler: it is). But what it has given me is the chance to try out some stuff that I have waiting on the 'to pickup' list. Started off this morning with the previously casette only Pier & Loft from Hiroshi Yoshimura, another gorgeous bit of ambient very much in the same style as Surround and his other 80's work that I've mentioned previously, though it does get a little new age at times. It makes for great software music but not so much for posting as it's a bit of a rarity unlike some of Yoshimura's other work.

So instead a seection of stuff that I put on once that album had run its course, starting with more from The Flashbulb. I was tempted to put one of the more ambient offerings he has under his real name, but opted for another more recent album instead (which is still from 2012 if you want an idea of how far behind I am with the Flashbulb discography). I'm fairly certain I've heard Arrival To An Empty Room before, might have even been at the time it came out but I can't say for definite. It doesn't take long for it to tap into the sound that I loved on previous releases like Soundtrack To A Vacant Life - it's the most 'IDM' that later Flashbulb works get, the beats are glitchy but not too harsh and have this real bounce to them. But that's not the main focus of this one as it doesn't stick around for long, instead leaving for an extended break around the 1:10 mark for some decidedly cinematic strings. This break continues until around 2:40 or so, before the beats come cascading back in spectacular fashion but then they're gone again by the 3:25 mark for a blissfully sedate outro of warm pads and field recordings, and some lonesome piano in the latter quarter. A spectacular example of why I'll always recommend The Flashbulb to anyone looking for that more melodic experimental sound.

On a similar note I did some digging after my last mention of Dirty Owl and promptly put a couple of Alexander Ananyev's releases under the Sleepy Town Manufacture alias on my list. Again a much more traditional 'IDM' affair than the Dirty Owl works, but doesn't go quite as hard as you might expect from that description, though the thudding intro is quite heady. Seen Er instead opting for sparkling arpeggios and warm electronics making an almost aquatic feel very befitting of the album's title, with only the glitchy and bit crushed burbles in the background that give it away. It's quite nice in that regard, as you can probably tell from my last few posts about the genre I am very much into this kind of style now compared to my craving of the next snare rush and other associated beat tampering when I initially got into the scene. Perhaps not as boundary pushing as The Flashbulb tune above but still a nice little piece regardless, a touch generic perhaps but it has been a great accompaniment to me zipping around low poly shapes. There's not a lot of STM's stuff on bandcamp sadly, this version of Plankton comes with some bonus tracks to make up for that a little though.

And finally rounding out with more from Echochamber with their final release. Finding Echochamber's I'm Real, I'm Here on Bandcamp was really the beginning of me beginning to branch out into the indie sphere on the site and got me to just start using it more in general - which only increased with the introduction of bandcamp Fridays. An absolute bargain at $3, it was an album that I found myself being super into at the time with it's high tech feel and the mixture of pulsing dub style techno, lo-fi hip hop and even dipping into downtempo and full on ambient across the tracklist. Their final offering is all in on the lo-fi hip hop sound, and I am guilty of putting it off because frankly it's a style that you can burn yourself out on very easily (also because I forgot to put in on my wishlist for a long time!), and if I'm totally honest the dubby techno bits were my favourites from I'm Real...

But if finally getting around to it has taught me anything it's that maybe I need to go back and listen to that album again, because right from the opening track here I'm back into it. I almost held off using the 'lo-fi' qualifier here because while it is a really apt description of the sound, I think that what the Echochamber crew do with it here is pretty far removed from what you might conjure in your mind with that label. There's no jazzy sample here that's been cut up and re-structured - instead: some reversed-sounding pads, a vinyl crackle and a trap-inspired beat all wrapped up with some really bright sounding synth noodling. A real blinder of an opening track, and a celebration of all that Echochamber was.

And that'll be all for now. Here's hoping my success on both the software and listening front continues, at this rate I might actually see a reduction in my wishlist! I've gotten around to republishing a couple of old posts this week too - all in all it's been pretty productive, I'll be sure to swing back around with any new finds I make in the meantime but until then - Stay safe and enjoy the music.


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