Pyschonavigation Records/Tranquillo/Eire Supply/Offshoot Showcase Fall – Winter, 2014

Here’s what’s been cooking on Psychonavigation and its sublabels over the last few months!

Off Land – Quinarian – via Psychonavigation

Off Land’s second release for the Paychonavigation label follows on the heels of his previous album, “Tidewater Pulse.”  This album finds us surfing on five tracks, reaching a newer level of synth-rich space ambience, pock marked with hidden gems like voice samples and softly fluttering sound clips.  The music is akin to Pete Namlook, Deeper Than Space, and certain Tangerine Dream albums.  The synth is quite melodic but gentle, working well for this style of ambient music and the theme of the album itself: the quinarian zoological classification of animals – I personally find it quite interesting that space ambience in this case actually works quite well for an album referencing animals.  All in all, Off Land delivers a flawless piece of work and fans of his older material will be very happy.  (4.9 out of 5)

Andrea Carri – Chronos

A time themed album from the Italian pianist that branches into the realm of ambience while staying quite true to modern classical styles, Carri’s “Chronos” is something special.  I’m quite picky about piano based music and own very little of it; it has to be just right.  Don’t ask me to explain what that really means; I just know it when I hear it.  This album is one of those albums that struck me right away and drew me in.  The composition is good, the emotions it gets from me are strong and I feel that the music here fits well with the theme of the album as a whole.  So, if modern classical with hints of ambient is your thing, this will make you happy.  It’s not overly produced or too strong, but rather, this is the perfect amount of honest piano works and imagination.  Brilliant.  (5 out of 5)

Perry Frank – Soundscapes Box 1 – via Tranqillo

This was a project created to go alongside a film made by the artist, showcasing the various abandoned homes and buildings that belonged to a once thriving mining area of Sardinia.  Some of these places are haunted, others not.  The album itself, having said that, deals a lot about memories of the past, abandonment, the passage of time and regrets.  So while that sets the tone for the music, the sounds themselves aren’t quite as sad or spooky as one might think.  There’s a lot of mixing of synth elements and acoustic strings, making the album feel more organic as well as atmospheric. In other words, it’s quite down to earth but it paints a clear picture by capturing your imagination.  Gentle post rock meets ambient and creates a vivid yet haunting world.  Very well done.  (4.8 out of 5)

Daniel McDermott – The Lullaby Wars – via Eire Supply

A brilliant master pianist and guitarist, McDermott creates a very mixed album.  I say that because I was quite surprised to find that this was a mega-mixture, fusing elements of  minimal, ambient, techno, electronica, house, and modern classical.  Not what I was expecting upon reading up on his background.  However, that does not make me disappointed. In actuality, the music here is rich and flows rather well considering how many different genres are being blended together.  It’s one of those things you kind of have to hear for yourself to believe.  Very impressive! (4.9 out of 5)

Kohshi Kamata – Seven Most – via Offshoot

Experimental electronica meets… well, electronica!  I’d not go so far to say that this is your typical dance oriented electronica but it does have a vibe to it that makes you tap your toes, even when there is no percussion being used in some of the tracks.  It’s experimental without any snobby artistry and there isn’t a shred of aesthetic lost in this recording.  The only way I can describe this is by taking XXYYXX’s most minimal and mellow track, strip it down a bit more, up the avant-garde and experimentalism, add a dash of footwork and FSOL, and you have something close to the sounds here.  This is a surprisingly engaging body of work.  Scope it out for yourself! (4.8 out of 5)

Sense – Still Life – via Psychonavigation

Sense returns after last year’s “The Dream” with another ambient gem.  Sense has a knack for creating stunning scapes and on this release, it’s fused with a very human element provided by numerous voice samples, ranging from interviews with broken families to the odd quotes from other documentaries.  It creates a very realistic, relatable and somewhat frightening world (especially the track “Claymore”).  It’s space ambient but this might be the most human the genre has gotten in quite a long time.  (4.8 out of 5)

Samora – Lontano – via Tranquillo

Steve Kilbey (The Church) makes appearances on this album, providing spoken word bits to accompany some of the ambient scapes while other tracks are haunting instrumental pieces.  My first impression after spinning this is one of intrigue.  It’s dark in spots, haunting and often surreal while in a few other places, things lighten up and the sun shines in.  Think of mixing some of FSOL’s more space oriented tracks with Namlook and Off Land and then send it whirling into a sea of dark clouds with sporadic and random breaks of light, foliage and dreams.  I’d say this is another one you should hear before the year is out.  Quite an interesting piece! (4.9 out of 5)

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About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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