Monday 4 April 2022

Friday's Sounds

Another month, another chance for me to drop a bunch of recent purchases on you. Not sure how much longer that will be the case though, the announcement of Bandcamp Fridays continuing into 2022 ominously stopped at 'May', and with the recent acquisition news it's entirely possible that they will stop then too. But let's not dwell on that, instead lets take a look at my digital bag! This time around I had a pretty solid idea going in and ended up picking up a whole heap of records you could quite easily put under the 'IDM' umbrella, let's take a look.
Charles Sheeler - Windows (1952)

Starting with something that's been on my wishlist for ages at this point, what was seemingly Arovane's final album - Lilies. Arovane's work is a very delicate touch compared to some other operators in the 'IDM' world - there are some tracks from Tides that wouldn't sound out of place on the trip-hop style parts of the Silent Hill OSTs, and the same is true here, quite fittingly with Tokyo Ghost Stories being the most like that, but it appears early on too - after an ambient intro you enter that same sound space with Windy Wish Trees. It's just after that the the album really hits its stride for me though - the twinned approach of Passage To Nagoya and Cry Osaka Cry is divine. Osaka is still my favourite of the bunch, but the title track comes close - I've picked that for today as I've already posted Osaka before and I think it also does a very good job of demoing Arovane's relatively soft but engaging sound.

Getting a little deeper into the realms of obscurity we have Karsten Pflum, a name I'm pretty sure I've heard before but may be getting confused with Abfahrt Hinwil. At any rate, a lot of artists like this have put their work up on Bandcamp now that the original labels are long defunct (Worm Interface in this case) which I always like to see. Tracks is a very fun album, one that explores the more 'fun' side of IDM - think Plaid and co. and you'll end up in the same area of sound. It's been a long time since I added something like this to my collection, as someone whose favourite AFX tracks are the super melodic ones, I can't help but grin at tracks like Te that fully embrace that lovely squelchy electronic sound. Very impressive for a debut, beautifully balanced between abstract and melodic, it's fast entered heavy rotation for me. Thankfully Karsten has plenty of other releases to get stuck into so I will have plenty to come back to in time.

Rolling back to 'Something I've been meaning to pick up for ages' once again for this next one, I think I first heard this track on some kind of mix or compilation - and after seeing a Metamatics album be one of the many 'Xth Anniversary' releases of other IDM records by Lapsus Records in their Perennial Series, I wish listed a couple of them for future reference. And the wait, while a little too long perhaps, had been worth it - coming back to Vanishing Point was like falling in love all over again, I just can't get enough of the vibe here. It's quite far removed from what comes to mind when I think 'IDM' but I'm sort of beyond labels at this point. I highly recommend NeoOuija in general - it's a very refined experience, even at times where it gets a little out there as with the off-kilter melodic passes on So Many Ways. If you're after more of the same feel as Vanishing Point though, look no further than Beautiful Mutations to enter that hi-tech lounge zone once more.

Ending now with the release that made me decide to go all in on the IDM stuff this time around, flicking through n5MD's back catalogue and I found plenty to grab my attention, the label has a pretty impressive roster. Loess' self titled debut has a fairly unassuming cover but it's at least sonically appropriate - this album dwells a lot more on the darker, slightly melancholic side. Not to say it's super dreary or anything, in fact I'd say there's a bit of warmth to it - take opening track Chariv Canopy for one, it's fairly short but serves as a fantastic intro to the album as a whole, and tracks like Pleuston also evoke that sort of 'Artificial Intelligence' sound to a degree, though not quite as bleepy as the Warp originals. Another reason I've chosen the very first track is because the entirety of this album is designed to flow together - a bit of a rarity for this kind of electronic. It makes for an interesting experience, as someone who usually shuffles my entire collection doubly so - I've had it on in the background while writing and it's almost totally seamless.

And that'll be all for this time, I have a bit of free time over the next couple weeks so I'm going to try post a little bit more than usual - perhaps even finish up some of those longform ones, it has been a while after all. Still, I hope you've enjoyed this month's entry - I'll be back soon enough with more but until then, as always - stay safe and enjoy the music.


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