Review: Up until his death in 2003, Hiroshi Yoshimura spent decades offering up immaculate albums that blurred the boundaries between ambient, new age and minimalism. For those not versed in the Japanese ambient pioneer's vast catalogue, 1986's "Green" - which is here reissued by Light In The Attic - remains one of his most impressive works. Created using a minimal number of instruments (mostly synthesizers and electric pianos), the set is as quietly jazzy as it is relaxing. Highlights include the meditative, Terry Riley influenced bliss of "Feel", the pulsing organ stabs and blissful electronics of "Sheep", the garden-ready musical hug that is "Green" and the swelling opener "Creek".
Review: Just when you thought all hope was lost along come The Strokes to fulfil the promises they made way, way back with their startling debut 'Is This It'. That was 17 years ago, and while the outfit have made plenty worthy of note in the years between then and now, we'd be surprised if we're the only ones thinking this latest is their best effort since that inaugural outing. Confident but also hungry, rather than bloated and lazy, there's plenty here that you won't be able to get away from in a hurry. 'Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus' might define the package best, delivering some powerful pop energy in an all-round homage to and critique of the 1980s, an era revisited again on 'Bad Decisions', which owes plenty to Billy Idol's Generation X classic, 'Dancing With Myself', with tracks like 'Why Are Sundays So Depressing' diverting to a synthdom route and 'Not The Same Anymore' throwing crooner styles into the mix. Exceptional stuff.
Review: The aural illustration of a year of bliss, sorrow, and stasis, NYC bedroom-ambient wanderer Viul follows last spring's Bright Decline (Disques d'Honore, 2019) with thirteen new pieces weaving delicate hints of vocals, synthesizer, tape texture and field recording into his foundational guitar loops. On Outside the Dream World, his debut full-length for emerging ambient curator Past Inside the Present, Viul quickly coaxes unlikely melodies to the fore: "Sur Canadian TV" builds ominously from the residue of orchestral tune-up collage "Spring Mash," while the gauze of the title track momentarily disguises a sinewy pop arrangement before ceding to the frigid, expansive "Sewn." The record's second side hosts a study in contrasts embodied by the dense swirl of "Spacefuck Symmetry Endpoint" against the near-motionless finale "Shroud." Mastered at Black Knoll Studio by Rafael Anton Irisarri and featuring cover photography by Benoît Pioulard, Outside the Dream World is a vivid addition to PITP's growing catalogue of ambient serenity.
Review: Orchestral Tape Studies is a compilation arranged and produced by healing sound propagandist, ??. OTS is a group of richly layered movements of fragmented orchestral loops, paying homage to minimalist symphonic composers and orchestras. ?? incorporates field recordings and faint drone billows to accompany these selected samples of orchestral loops. With an emphasis on tone and recurrent murmurs, these four arrangements offer 32 minutes of delicate repetition, reticent sound treatments, and subtle manipulations. OTS is intended for low-volume listening.
Review: Minimal Wave is proud to present The Sound of Indifference, a rare cassette released in 1981 by Aural Indifference. Aural Indifference was a post-punk studio collective from Sydney, Australia. The two principal members were Brian Spencer Hall (the M Squared in house producer) and Kevin Purdy. The cassette album, The Sound of Indifference, was released in 1981, featuring tracks such as "Theme", "Park, and "Man Am I Progressive". Their sound ranges from minimal synth, to post-punk to quirky guitar-driven electronic folk music, some of it resembling John Maus. "Theme" appeared as the closing track on The Minimal Wave Tapes: Volume Two compilation and "Park" appeared on The Bedroom Tapes compilation. Here for the first time, we are offering a reissue of the original cassette, remastered from the master tapes and complete with original artwork, limited to 300 copies.
Review: When is a psychedelic rock album not a psychedelic rock album? Anyone who has quickly scrawled answer-on-postcard reads "when it's Temples" can go straight to the top of the class. Evidently you have been paying attention over the course of the British three piece's last two full length records. It's not that things don't sound pretty out there and trippy. All the elements to achieve that are here, but the accessibility is ramped up to the level of a pop album, with arrangements owing more to traditional song craft than anything particularly experimental. Don't read that as criticism, though. Tracks like "Not Quite The Same" are huge, proud, instantly catchy but far from obvious numbers. "You're Either On Something" thumps and lunges through its various permutations, "Atomise" pares everything back, luring us in, before opening up into a frantic, grunge-metal guitar line. We can only imagine the fun they had recording it.
Review: The unstoppable force of Czarface is back yet again with another heavyweight hip hop assault. This time around the super group of Wu Tang's Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric are joined by the mighty Ghostface Killah - as you'd expect the results are big. The beats are wild, with the sample sources veering from Hammer horror dread to cosmic synth wobbles and dubbed out bass, as hard rocking as it is trippy and loose. Meanwhile the lyrical flows are razor sharp, with Esoteric, Inspectah and Ghostface all sparring at the top of their game. This is deadly modern hip hop that recognises what made the golden era special without cashing in on old tricks.
Review: "Father Of The Bride", Vampire Weekend's first album for six long years, has been receiving praise across the board from critics. It's been variously described as a "modern California pop masterpiece", a "scrapbook of brilliant ideas" and "the band's magnum opus". To our ears, it's certainly joyous and celebratory, with the acclaimed New York band wrapping their usual punchy-indie pop in subtle and not so subtle nods towards everything from Flamenco and Country music, to mournful piano ballads, excitable electronic indie-dance and 1960s baroque pop. In other words, it's a giddy collection of inventive, enjoyable songs that boasts the same eclectic, anything-goes swagger as the Beatles "White Album" or other similar wide-ranging sets.
Review: "Hyperspace" sees Beck venture further down the pop road, drafting in a wealth of high profile, stadium-filling collaborators to realise what's arguably his most synthesised work to date. Full marks to anyone who, upon blind taste test, immediately jumped to the conclusion this was indeed Beck. Fear not, that's less a result of his iconic and infinitely listenable voice not shining through, and more down to what else is in these arrangements. Working with legendary studio genius Pharrell Williams (who co-produced and co-wrote), you'll also find Coldplay's Chris Martin and Georgia, US rapper and drummer Terrell Hines involved here, amongst others. Together with these names we're taken into a soaring, immersive and glittering world of sophisticated but chart-friendly anthems, from clap-a-long number "Die Waiting", to the epic space-rock closer "Everlasting Nothing".
Review: "At the center of 'Long Formations +4' are the two longest pieces I've recorded. Although recorded and released at different times, these pieces always felt like they were two sides of the same coin and I'd hoped to have them collected on a physical release one day. Both use layers of guitar as the source material and the pieces ebb and flow between the original guitar recordings and variations on them - manipulations in playback speed and EQ with additional textures and melodies fading into the mixes. The additional pieces were all recorded in late 2019 and are significantly shorter pieces, but feel very connected to the long formations in tone and in mood so it seemed fitting that these all be compiled together. These pieces are also predominantly guitar based with the addition of strings in "Soft Spoken" and onde magnetique in 'Street Lights'."
Review: Indianapolis-based composer, Marc Ertel (PILLARS/Dawn Chorus and The Infallible Sea), made his solo debut appearance at Post. Festival 2019, where he performed alongside with other Past Inside the Present artists on the label's showcase stage. Since that time, PITP has been anxious to share Ertel's brilliant guitar-laden drone arrangements to the masses.
On his first proper solo release with Past Inside the Present titled, "[Overtures]", Ertel delivers five compositions of immersive, angelic drone that embody an organic intensity suffused with opulent guitar articulations. Multiple layers of synth lines and guitar-work flawlessly converge, producing 36 minutes of vaporous soundscapes. [Overtures] is a solemn, yet equally rapturous paean to placidity. A brilliant and eloquent addition to PITP's growing catalogue of dronescapes and healing sounds.
Review: Low Howl is the ambient alias of Indianapolis native, Dylan Wilson. He made his debut PITP appearance on the "Healing Sounds: A Compilation for Hurricane Recovery", contributing the wistful, yet equally sanguine track "Lux" under the moniker HEAVY.
On his first proper release with Past Inside the Present titled, "Fieldwaves", Low Howl delivers five arrangements of glowing ambience that patiently swell with gentle articulations. Synth lines radiate warmly with a profound sense of stillness and quietude. The multi-textural synth layers beautifully converge together, resulting in a lush array of calm, ambient tones.