Artist: Various Artists
Title: Terminal Window 2
Label: Sirona Records, Archive.org
Genre: ambient, IDM, techno, glitch, space ambient
Riding on the heels of the awesome first volume, “Terminal Window 2” explores a wildly vivid myriad of musical landscapes. Compiled and recorded by FSOL fans through the message board hosted on http://www.ilovecubus.co.uk , this new release showcases some of the best artists hiding in the internet’s etherground. For those of you who’ve followed this blog over the past six months, you might be familiar with some of the artists who appear here.
The best way to review a various artist compilation is to take it track by track. So sit back, and enjoy the ride.
1) Nmesh – Terminal Interface
We open here in a very dark atmosphere, full of odd vocal samples, birds and flutes. It’s the perfect collage styled ambient piece. It does sound quite FSOL influenced but it holds its own unique qualities. Awesome.
2) Noisesurfer – Wook
With some noisy yet melodic synth, we’re treated to something beautiful. This is a piece of complex simplicity, hinting at the ambient masterpieces from the mid-90s and mixing it with a dose of acid. Brilliant.
3) Loose Link – Iodium
With a wild beat and post-apocalyptic ambient atmospheres, this track is a sonic whirlwind. It gets very deep and almost “Dead Cities”-esque in spots, all the while entrancing me with a simple distorted beat. It’s a nice mix of ambient, break beat and industrial. Fun!
4) Off Land – Lines (Recon)
With a gentle nudge, this track fades in like a fog in a deep evergreen forest. It’s almost minimal but still remains lush and vibrant in its subtlety.
5) Akkya – Earthchild
A very gentle track with a very atmospheric background, this piece drifts along at a relaxing pace. I enjoy this track immensely. Thanks for this one!
6) Clockwork Keyboard – Extract My Time
Here’s something interesting… Manipulated clock chimes and glitched-up vocal samples give the illusion that we’re traveling through some sort of time warp. If defying the laws of time and space were possible, this would be the soundtrack for it. It’s chaotic yet clearly puts the concept forward.
7) Ross Baker – Rain
This track was the perfect choice to follow Clockwork Keyboard’s track in this mix. The sound is textured like rain drops pattering rapidly onto a surface, in this case, perhaps the sound waves themselves. The wild pattering fades into gentle echoed chimes of sorts with a light rain affect murmuring in the background that eventually sends us into the next track.
8) Cubus – Parameter Window
Without really missing a beat from Baker’s track, we are gently drifting into a hushed and deep soundscape. This would almost rival something from the FAX label with its retrofuturistic beats, thick atmosphere and clever use of synth and piano. And before you know it, this track takes on a more neo-classical feel. This is a good example of a track that employs two different genres at once without jarring transitions.
9) Off Land – Weeds
This track is a flawless ambient peace, sort of bringing us back to Earth’s orbit. For me, this is certainly a lay-on-the-floor-and-chill sort of track. It’s perfect on a warm and humid summer day, especially when the birds begin to fade in near the end of the track.
10) Loose Link – Sipbass
Like a strange dream, this noise influenced glitch track grumbles into view. It’s suddenly met with some turntable magic, heavy static beats and a mega dose of abstract.
11) Noisesurfer – Hazey Pillow
A pulsing beat meets up with some chilled feedback, textured samples and as the name of this track describes, it gives way to a real hazy dream-like feel. The simplicity of this track makes it really enjoyable; it doesn’t overwhelm or get too cluttered. It keeps this mix flowing without losing pace.
Shimmering back to the forefront, it’s Akkya. This track takes on an even hazier feel than the previous track at first, allowing a rock-like beat to fade in with a truly slick bass line. Fans of FSOL will love this track without a doubt. I’m in bliss as I play this one.
13) Clockwork Keyboard – Crazy Dog Beats
Odd synth and a smooth, low hum lead me into a field of beats. It reminds me of a wilder Boards of Canada, but the music is quite unique. There’s so much going on here that it’s difficult to translate my thoughts into words. I am left surprised by this piece. I should also mention that this sounds amazing through headphones.
14) Ross Baker – Storm Passed
Evidently a possible follow up to his earlier track on this compilation, this track, while haunting in tone, is deep and wondrous. It’s a track that travels and keeps me on my toes while keeping me really relaxed. It’s one of the longer tracks on the compilation but it certainly does not slow things down. Flawless.
15) Nmesh – Mainframe Terminal
Some wild vocal sample, birds/loons, and flutes launch into a gentle ambient beat and some well-structured and thought provoking jams. It picks up and continues on perfectly from where “Storm Passed” left off. It hints at ambience from the early 90s without forcing the notion too much or sounding dated. It’s an interesting piece and packs a lot in. Quite engaging.
16) Sturmazdale – Caves
A mix of glitchy murmurings and atmospheric brilliance, this is the perfect track to wrap up this mesmerizing compilation. It’s a true modern ambient gem. I’d be hard pressed to find anything wrong with this piece. Refreshing.
Should you download this? Yes! This set hints and leans on elements of FSOL, Namlook, BoC and others while fearlessly and magnificently holding its own and shining through the farthest reaches of space as a true masterpiece of its kind. The flow of this set is amazing and one can easily see that great care and thought were put into the order of the tracks. This was something that stood out to me right away and impressed me deeply. Fans of ambient music will be very satisfied with this; I know I was. Download this from here or here!
5 out of 5.