Boards of Canada - “Reach For The Dead”
The Scottish ambient/IDM duo Boards of Canada just dropped the first taste of their new record Tomorrow’s Harvest, their first album since 2005’s The Campfire Headphase. The record is due out June 10th on Warp, and this single is incredible.
Dirty Beaches - “Love Is The Devil”
Taiwanese-born globetrotter Alex Zhang Hungtai has two new records in the works for his retro-focused Dirty Beaches project, following up 2011’s dusty Badlands LP. Released earlier today on his personal YouTube channel, “Love Is The Devil” is the first taste of Dirty Beaches’ forthcoming albums. It’s a brooding, melancholic swath of instrumental ambience, oscillating between hollow synth drones and warm, crackly strings. It evokes a lot of the same feelings that The Caretaker’s eerily nostalgic An Empty Bliss Beyond This World procured when it was released back in 2011, and I wouldn’t be surprised if James Kirby’s work was a large influence on this track. Fans of Hungtai’s Presleyan moans might miss the absence of his voice, but there will likely be plenty of that on at least one of the upcoming records.
Accompanying the YouTube video in which this song was debuted is a Bukowski quote that might offer some more direct insight into Hungtai’s inspiration:
“Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.”
Stream/Download: The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz - How To Remain Conscious (2012)
The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz is the ambient music project of Evan Cooper, an extremely prolific musician based in Smithtown, New York. In 2012 alone, he’s already released six albums, ranging from the lofty ambient folk of Whispers of Immortality to the eerie drone of A Ghost Who Floats.
Released earlier today, How To Remain Conscious is Cooper’s latest and perhaps his best work under the Hugo Stiglitz moniker. It’s also one of his most subtle and thought provoking releases, constantly straddling the line between gently comforting and eerily disturbing. Although still firmly rooted in ambient music with its woozy synths and minimalist keys, How To Remain Conscious finds Cooper flirting extensively with glitchy electronics and subtle beats. When paired together, the two make for a disorienting combination — as a listener, I’m not sure whether to let it simply wash over me, or to pay attention and analyse the musical/rhythmic interplay. I can sense that this album will reward repeated listens for this reason, and I plan to incorporate it into my sleep playlist soon.
Cooper strays from the minimal electronic format occasionally on this record, at times harking back to to emotive folk of Whispers Of Immortality, his last release. The slowly building acoustic guitar and piano duet on “What Did You Forget?” is a particular highlight, especially with the strange, distant samples coming through in the background. The gentle, nursery rhyme-reminiscent “My Imaginary Friend” even finds Cooper singing a little, which adds some lively energy to the otherwise sleepy release. Overall though, I find this album to be most stimulating and successful on the more electronic tracks. It’s a direction that I think would be really rewarding for Cooper to explore more as he continues his impressive musical journey as The Orchestra Of Hugo Stiglitz.
Listening To: The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald) (2012)
I’m closing tonight out with this, the new record from Leyland Kerby a.k.a. The Caretaker. Patience (After Sebald) is a darkly repetitive and experimental ambient record that evokes the more frightening side of my haziest and most nostalgic memories. It works as especially great late night listening for depressed people, but I’d recommend it to anybody. I may review this in full in the near future, but for now, I plan to simply let the desolate atmosphere of Patience overtake me and direct my dreams in whatever way they may lead.
Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports (1978)
Eno’s most well-known ambient record is also probably his most serene and heavenly. This is an essential nighttime listening pick, and my personal choice for the soundtrack to my dreams tonight. I hope your sleep is as nice as mine feels like it’s going to be.