Please note: As of December 2011 I have decided to stop tagging discs and releases as Highly Recommended. I have come around to the idea that a good review is a good review, plain and simple, and from this point forward I’m letting them stand on their own. It’s up to you to decide–preferably by visiting the artists’ sites–whether the music has a place in your collection.
As the banner at the top of the page says, my reviews are, in fact, just one listener’s opinion. What I like, I like. What works for me, works for me–and the artists are certainly hoping they work for you, too.
This is a listing of CDs that I have chosen as Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CDs. As these disks go back a few years in some cases, the provided links may or may not work. But there’s always Google, right? And CDBaby is a favorite hangout for a lot of ambient artists, so check there, too.
If you’re an artist and your disk is listed here, please feel free to copy the blurb I’ve chosen to use in any promotional material.
Alio Die/Parallel Words, Circo Divino
“Silky flows punctuated with glitchy landmarks, Middle Eastern influences and suggestions of darkness along the way. There’s a lot to listen to here as Bakis Sirros and Stefano Musso craft their landscape in intricate detail and volumes of sounds.” Available from Hic Sunt Leones.
Aloof Proof, Piano Text
“This is classic-style ambient, with slowly played piano notes allowed to fade lazily across an expanse of echo, the sounds blending as they drift backward, becoming something new and more whole with each moment.” Available from Infraction Records.
Altus, Black Trees Among Amber Skies
“…long pads balanced on bass tones as solid as frozen ground, the feeling and pace suitably reminiscent of the slow and steady cascade of snowfall, of ice forming on branches, of the hush that ushers in the greyness of winter.” Available from Altus’ web site.
“…a pleasant ride along the New Age/jazz/world highway [with] Caribbean-flavored grooves. While it shows its late-harvest Windham Hill roots it’s also a varied, nicely constructed and overall engaging work.” Available at the Anawaty/Russell web site.
Arrocata, In the Distance
“Robert Straub offers a tour of the physical and metaphysical vistas of his beloved southwestern American desert on In the Distance. This is an engaging, beautifully constructed work that eases along, unhurried, on textured drones that ripple like heat shimmer.” Available at CDBaby.
Arrocata, Desert Electric
“Straub’s shifting-sand flows, night-sky glimmer and horizon’s-edge chords make for a calming, deeply interesting voyage. It’s a soother, for sure, but Straub’s also enough of a craftsman to make sure there’s a lot to hear if you listen closely. And you should.” Available at CDBaby.
Dwight Ashley, Watermelon Sugar
“Melancholy is in full dark bloom here. Every piece is like a slow, contemplative walk on a foggy morning, senses heightened and the veil between worlds slightly parted.” Available from Nepenthe Records.
Atomic Skunk, Alchemy
“…blends world-music grooves, spacey ambient textures and atmospheric electronic touches to keep itself fresh and engaging…There’s not a moment here that’s not intriguing and expertly crafted. It’s a disc that requires your attention because there’s so very much going on, moment to moment.” Available at the Atomic Skunk web site.
Patrick Balthrop, Autopoetic
“Balthrop crafts complex bits of sonic sculpture, with tiny blurts of sound punctuating waking-dream keyboard washes to create percussive elements that feel half-imagined even as they impart an irresistible urge to groove, just slightly, with the sound. The effect is so subtle that giving in to it feels like an involuntary reflex.” Available from Gears of Sand.
Between Interval, The Edge of a Fairytale
“…a varied landscape of flawlessly constructed sounds, from spacey drifts and soul-quieting washes to pulsing urgency and grim, shadowy tones, that beautifully capture his intent to describe the ‘uncharted realms’ between this world and the world of the imaginary.” Available from Spotted Peccary.
Matt Borghi, Huronic Minor
“…a deeply lush and introspective work of long-form drones with a gentle, liquid feel. Borghi pours his love of the Michigan wilds and the chilly expanses of the lake into each piece, like a deep breath taken at water’s edge and let out slowly, a cloud of cold-morning breath drifting and changing in the wind. This is a disk that will comfortably play at low volume on endless repeat to just wrap the listener in its quiet narrative.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Meg Bowles, A Quiet Light
“Bowles knows how to pull at your emotions with sound, and she spends the time guiding you through her ideas and intentions. You will feel every note here.” Available from Meg Bowles’ web site.
Steve Brand, Children of Alcyone
“…a straightforward ambient disc, designed for quiet, repeated and almost inattentive listening–but, as can be said for most good ambient discs, offering a lot of depth and interest to the focused listener.” Available from Hypnos.
“One of the things I really enjoy about Canartic is how their sound owes as much to Motown as it does to Montego Bay. Randall Peterson’s guitar playing smacks sweetly of classic smooth R&B with a delicious funk frosting.” Available from Dank Disk.
Carl Sagan’s Ghost, Colonial Spa
“This is space-lounge cool at its finest, a gravity-free mind-massage while beat-pulse engines ease you into orbit around a planet made of 100 percent chill. And, of course, someone hands you a complimentary and suitably spacey cocktail in the middle of it all.” Available from the Carl Sagan’s Ghost web site.
Jim Cole & Spectral Voices, Innertones
“Between the pitch-perfect harmonies, the graceful pace of the songs [..and] the intriguing textures of polyphonic singing…Innertones develops, across it course, into something akin to a meditative mass for the ambient believers. The sound falls perfectly between hymn and chant. It is uplifting, soothing, and inspiring. Innertones is a superb low-volume experience, the beauty of the pieces quietly filling the space with an inescapable serenity.” Available at CDBaby.
“…[a] blend of sequencer runs and blistering guitar. As usual, [artist Dave] Pearson gives himself room to rip and to develop each of his sonic stories–tales well worth both the telling and the hearing. This is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD, especially if you like your music with a touch of old-school style.” Available at www.computerchemist.com.
Computerchemist, Icon One
“There’s a distinct cinematic/narrative overtone to all the pieces here, the longer ones clearly sliced into movements, and the sonic imagery comes across quite clearly. It’s a very tasty ride, especially for the analogue-heads among us.” Available at www.computerchemist.com.
“…a rich, deep work that seamlessly melds dark ambient textures with irresistible beats for a fully immersive listening experience. This is a disk that will most certainly get a lot of repeat play, and offers enough depth and layering of sound to reward subsequent listens.” Available from Gears of Sand.
Darshan Ambient, A Day Within Days
“Time must be set aside to give A Day Within Days the deep track-by-track listen it deserves… It’s quiet, pleasant and exudes a simple, calming joy that works it way into your soul.” Available from Spotted Peccary.
Dolmen, Incantations Verse: One and Verse:Two
“…dark, dense guitar-based drones and clashing, unapologetic noise paired up with aggressive tribal rhythms and longform drifts carved from shadow. These disks seethe with a sense of the ritualistic, an irresistible calling to a sensually dark and potentially dangerous place inside of ourselves. Mesmerizing, challenging and, in the end, compelling stuff that makes for one of the best offerings of the year.” Find it now at the Slo-Bor media web site.
“As I’ve said before of pieces that are attached to other works of art, be they performances, installations, or otherwise, the highest compliment I can give is to say that the music makes me want to see the art that goes with it. Passage easily gets that compliment.” Check it out at www.dreamstate.to
Philippe Emmanuel Gueble, Fire & Remembrance
“…a quiet world of varying shades, mostly light with tinges of shadow. It’s a world you never grow tired of gazing at because although you think you know it well, each time you come back you see something new and breathtaking.” Find it online at www.pegueble.com.
Forrest Fang, Phantoms
“This is a work that melds earth and sky—the latter represented by windborne, drifting ambient textures that move and shift like clouds, the former by the sharp, rich tones and tactile solidity of a wide array of Asian and Middle Eastern stringed instruments. In touching both extremes, Fang creates a unified whole that resonates deeply.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Joe Frawley, Left Cincinatti
“…a flickering, kinetoscopic tour, taken at a brisk walk, through a gallery of other people’s memories, images flashed on walls with barely enough time for you to look, but with enough time to make their impression.”
Available at Joe Frawley Music.
Frore, The Nameless Place
“Pairing cloud-motion synth pads and ice-crusted drones against an array of earthbound instruments including rattles, didgeridoo, rain sticks, flute and more, Frore swiftly pulls the listener into a mind-altering lower-world journey.” Available from Dark Duck Records.
Jeff Greinke, Virga
“Greinke’s master craftsmanship is on display here, track after track…rich and full, landscapes completely described in intimate detail while still leaving space for you to create your own mental pictures. This is a disk you’ll return to often to re-explore, and it will easily stand up to the scrutiny.” Available from Lotuspike.
“…crafted in filtered guitar that emerges as patient, rise-and-fall pads…sparse and subtle percussive elements lift Obscura out of the pure-drone realm. But by and large it’s a beatless piece of work with Har choreographing the graceful interplay of his textures, forms and ideas.” Available from Har’s web site.
Chad Hoeffler, Twilight in the Offing
“This is a vivid, dense, magnificently sculpted piece of ambient work that moves readily and well between classic-style ambient and tribal-tinged musics. It is inescapable
listening.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Herion, Out and About
“From start to finish, Out and About moves from moments of soulful serenity to breathtaking beauty. Its organic roots run deep to ground the listener in the moment and the experience.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Igneous Flame, Astra
“Pete Kelly, the man behind the Flame, lets the actual guitar sounds come more to the front on Astra than he did on his last guitar-based release, Satu, and the CD truly benefits from his subtle and graceful playing style. This, layered on top of ethereal drones that drift like wind-pushed clouds, makes for a deep, relaxing work that is, from my experience, simply Kelly’s best.” Available from CDBaby.
Igneous Flame, Hydra
“Kelly has pared his sound down to long, evocative drone-based washes dripping with shadowy tones to create a disk perfect for low-volume continuous play—while, as always, bringing great rewards and aural detail to deep listening.” Available from CDBaby.
Igneous Flame & Disturbed Earth, Harmonium
“…like spending an hour wrapped in a warm bank of fog that sighs around you, spectral shapes forming out of the mist to laze and drift past. It is complete immersion in an unimpeded stream of gentle sound that utterly calms the mind and spirit and slows the breath.” Available from LuminaSounds.
IXOHOXI/Numina, Megaliths & Monoliths
“The expert combination of wide, airy drifts and tribal percussion touches creates a fully realized and intriguingly hypnotic environment.” Available at the Numina web site.
Jon Jenkins & David Helpling, The Crossing
“…the sonic equivalent a long, sweeping aerial shot over some sort of stunning vista–towering mountains, rough-hewn gorges, angry seas, parched stretches of primordial desert and vast blue lakes.” Available from Spotted Peccary.
The Jingle Kings, The New Megalopolis
“…a set of thoughtful, emotive, slow-moving drifts and downtempo tunes that ease their way through your head, fully intent on making you relax. This is must-loop material.” Available at Reverb Nation.
Chad Kettering, Into the Infinite
“…a strong, well-crafted journey across a fully realized, shifting musical landscape tinged with Middle Eastern influence. By turns it is dramatically narrative and soothingly calm, and Kettering handles the transitions with practiced perfection.” Available at Kettering’s web site.
Chad Kettering, Voices of the Ancients
“…featherweight drifts float under rich atmospherics—flutes, drums, sticks and voices—as a way to provide the sense of a panoramic view of the desert landscape. There’s a transformative power here, something that absolutely takes hold of you.” Available at Kettering’s web site.
Aron Kirk, Brick Circus
“This is sonic portraiture at its best, sound imagery drawn in a steady hand from a photographic memory, each captured moment rendered with its perfect truth intact. While Circus blends an array of instrumentation, sound samples, and vocals, it’s Kirk’s heartbreakingly simple piano that forms the basis.” Available from Kirk’s web site.
Ran Kirlian, Dissolution
“At times minimal, at times complex and layered, Dissolution is darkly relaxing, absolutely meditative and an immediate candidate for endless looping. There’s no point in trying to call out any specific tracks here–this disc is an engaging, immersive whole that will pull you deeply in from the very first track.” Available as a free download at Ran Kirlian’s web site.
“…a multi-faceted, fascinating work that weaves its way easily from edge-of-hearing minimalism to beat-possessed electronica. Much of Union hides in plain site, the elements so pared back that they’re almost invisible to your ears. Then it will spring out in a heartbeat, drive up your pulse a bit or surround you with a craftily created environment before letting go again.” Available at Black Note Music.
“..part of the allure of Perdurabo [is] its ability to make us think, but in the same moment infect us with a touch of the beat. J-C Mendizabal’s musical equation holds up quite nicely across repeat listens.” Available at Black Note Music.
Brannan Lane & Zero Ohms, Soundfall to the Infinite
“Moving with perfect grace through three two-song segments, Soundfall is a glorious exercise in minimalistic beauty. Lane’s keyboards and sound processing form a lush landscape over which float Ohms’ flutes and wind synths.” Available from Brannan Lane’s web site.
Life Audience, Waves & Particles
“…loungy, on-the-rocks-cool backbeats and grooves that twist and float like expensive cigarette smoke, topped with undeniably sexy, Billie-Holiday-edged, come-hither female vocals.” Available from Norwood Films.
“…an addictive blend of downtempo grooves, uptempo power, and electronic noise.” Available at the Lopside web site.
Elissa Luu, Chromatic Sigh
“Chromatic Sigh marks the arrival of an interesting new voice in the genre. There’s a nice sense of playfulness throughout…and Luu’s playing—on all instruments—is graceful and confident. She is an artist to watch.” Available from Hidden Shoal Records.
Mark Mahoney & M. Peck, Gallery of Subtle Smiles
“Mahoney and Peck craft a voyage that is by turns exhilarating and contemplative. And each track—each leg of the journey—is a stunningly realized electronic landscape constructed from the chemistry between the duo.” Available from the Limited Wave web site.
Manitou, All Points North
“a slideshow of quiet, understated sound-portraits that calmly draw an emotive response from the listener. Each brief track is densely packed with merging, layered sounds that twist together to create ultrasubtle rhythms and glacial-drift melodies.” Availalble from Slo.Bor Media.
Mara’s Torment, Mara’s Torment
“A decade’s worth of softly wrapped ear candy that blends downtempo calm with varied, silken ambient textures and soothing melodies. The ride is graceful and intriguing…” Available at the Mara’s Torment web site.
Mara’s Torment, . . . Across for Show
“…a fresh CD of pensively beautiful pieces that suffer not at all from being shelved for a decade and show no sign of age. Everything here is constructed with grace and certainty.” Available from AtmoWorks.
Mara’s Torment, Dexterity
“Listen carefully enough and a bit of sympathetic sadness is likely to set in as MacLean’s work pulls at your soul, calmly and patiently prying embedded memories loose. Or you may just drift and fall into sleep-slow, relaxed breathing and a quietness of mind as you listen, coming comfortably in line with the tidal flow of (Rik) MacLean’s sounds.” Available from AtmoWorks.
Aaron Marshall, Noir Ambiance
“Everything feels like it’s created out of silk and fading shadow, and always with a sense of camera motion riding under the narrative, taking us through the sonic landscape. ” Available at Marshall’s web site.
Byron Metcalf, A Warning from the Elders
“[A] prayer to the earth, powered by shamanic drumming, didgeridoo, and overtone singing, [that] carries the feel of the sacred from its opening moments.” Available from Metcalf’s web site.
Mikronesia, Iris or Comfortable Too
“Composer Michael McDermott takes Eno-esque ambient piano and tugs, tears, and twists it, submitting it to a host of electronic treatments to create new, unique aural textures.” Available at the Mikronesia web site.
Mingo, The Once and Future World
“This is spacemusic at heart, with all the sonic depth and sweeping synthwork that implies, but it’s rooted in a solidly organic core thanks to the percussion elements.” Available from the Mingo web site.
Mingo, Guide to Invisibility
“… a tapestry composed of texture and sensation. Dark drifts and repurposed slivers of sound form the backdrop of this immersive work. Largely beatless outside of the sinuous pulse of the title track, Guide slides along seamlessly and subconsciously, rich with feeling and well-crafted sound-images.” Available from CD Baby.
Mystified, Primal Mystification
“Between the often-mellowing touch of the drones and the insistent metronomic pulse of the drumming, the listener doesn’t have much choice but to follow their brain as it slides and sluices down into Parks’ umbral constructs to touch the primal memory in all of us.”
Available from Hypnos.
Neuron Dreamtime, I Am My Own Mushroom
“…a trippy mother lode of psychedelia-infused ambient, a quite-cool ride through a varying set of sensibilities blending electronic and acoustic.” Available at the artist’s myspace page.
Numina, Shift to the Ghost
“…a set of pieces that pull you in so deeply that trying to find adequate words for them once you’ve surfaced is difficult. This is signature Numina, moving as slowly as sleeping breath, elegant layers laid thickly upon layers with a certain and graceful hand.” Available from the Numina web site.
Orion’s Belt, Ecumenicals: The Mysteries of Time
“In their final outing together, Darren Rogers and Jim Brenholts stir together a mix of grim dronework, the spoken word and spacey electronics. It’s deep and, in spots, a bit unsettling.” Available from Dark Duck.
“…a diverse set of pieces in constant motion, easing from potent solidity to vaporous quiet, all coming together to form a cohesive voyage for the listener.” Available from Dark Duck.
Picture Palace Music, Midsummer
“We reviewers like to try to classify things. It just makes the reviewing life easier. Then along c0mes a disc like Picture Palace Music’s Midsummer, stubbornly refusing to be put into any one slot, and we scramble for the right words. In this case, the right word is: fantastic.” Available from Groove Unlimited.
Dan Pound, Interlace
“Here is … the point where old meets new, ancient meets modern, organic meets technical to achieve a wholeness.” Available from Dan Pound’s web site.
Dave Preston, Soundtrack for Motion
“The real beauty of a Dave Preston CD is in the way that polished, calm, ambient guitar inventions wrap effortlessly around a folk-rock sensibility that quite often shines through the shimmer…This one leaves me breathless.” Available from CD Baby.
Resonant Drift, The Call
“…layered soundscapes that conjure open spaces and shadow-painted lairs, the sacred places of our ancestors and in our minds. The Call moves through hushed, meditative drifts , dark explorations and intense rhythmic tracks.” Available at CD Baby.
Steve Roach, Fever Dreams II
“Roach goes deep into the collective primitive psyche–perhaps as deep as he’s ever gone–conjuring a thick, lush, intricate weave of tribal, holotropic grooves wrapped around Byron Metcalf’s relentlessly perfect shamanic percussion and spiked with hauntingly keening vocals from Jennifer Grais. Some of the most vivid, affecting soundworlds Roach has ever created.” Available from Steve Roach’s web site.
Steve Roach, Destination Beyond
“In its scope and tone, Destination Beyond beautifully bridges the breadth of Roach’s career. The sequencer work carries echoes of his high-energy early releases and his love of hands-on sound creation, while the breathier, more meditative spaces are the signature of Roach’s adeptness at taking us quietly inside ourselves.” Available from Steve Roach’s web site.
Steve Roach, Live at Grace Cathedral
“Although it starts off softly, this live set from 2007 increases in intensity, swirling elements driving upward to peak before exhaling back down into a quiet-mind space.” Available from Steve Roach’s web site.
Steve Roach, Sigh of Ages
“Sigh of Ages imparts a feeling of bare-souled honesty in every track, and this is what, in part, makes it such a stunningly gorgeous CD. From a listening standpoint it’s deep and surrounding, warm and, in spots, pleasantly energetic.” Available from Steve Roach’s web site.
Steve Roach & Mark Seelig, Nightbloom
“A dark meditation in five seamless parts…perhaps as ritualistic a disc as Roach and Seelig have ever collaborated on, a hypnotic, symbiotic prayer of equal parts organic and electronic.” Available from Steve Roach’s web site.
Runningonair, Out of Process
“… a funky, playful, jazzy and neatly constructed pleasure…Everything feels nicely balanced, everything’s in place and it’s a disc I keep coming back to because it’s so damned enjoyable!” Available from Runningonair’s web site.
Chris Russell, Frozen
“…a circular journey from smooth ambient sounds and relaxing pads to edgier sonic swatches and textures and then back again…absolutely ideal for long-term looping.” Available from Relaxed Machinery.
Bruno Sanfilippo, Auralspace
“The seven tracks here exhibit a patient grace as they’re crafted in velvety tones with the occasional bit of rough edge left on for texture. Overall the feeling is one of shadowy contemplation, excellent for quiet looping.” Available from AD21 music.
Bruno Sanfilippo, Piano Textures 2
“I cannot recall when I last heard a CD as simply graceful and beautiful as Bruno Sanfilippo’s latest offering, Piano Textures 2. Slow-handed piano melodies lazily describe themselves over calm, warm synth washes in the six pieces here, each one slowing life down just a bit and trailing color as they go.” Available from AD21 music.
Bruno Sanflippo, Subliminal Pulse
“As always, Sanfilippo’s mastery of sound textures enriches the experience of each track. Deep, focused listening reaps incredible rewards and opens entirely different worlds. Quite simply one of the best CDs of 2011.” Available at Spotted Peccary.
Bruno Sanfilipoo & Matthias Grassow, Cromo
“Sanfilippo and Grassow maneuver deftly around each other in a set of perfect dances. The balance is superb, with neither element overpowering the other. There is rise and fall, movement and stillness. Empty spaces are gracefully filled by sounds that flow into the moment at the right moment.” Available from AD21 music.
Pascal Savy, The Silent Watcher
“Savy works in extreme, intimate close-up, pulling tight focus to capture the intricate workings of things. Gears turn and interlock with stop-motion precision. Ice crystals climb the length of a blade of grass. An insect’s leg moves on sand. All of it rendered in exquisite slow motion, the ordinary turned alien, a moment pulled toward the horizon and held there.” Available from AudioMoves.
“As SE, Sebastian Ehmke loads his work with varied sounds and shifts of tempo, tone and temperament. L36 is filled with pleasant sonic surprises.” Available from Tympanik Audio.
Sense Project, The Sublime
“A broad array of sonic sculptures, tone paintings and electronic sketches, each with its own inner life and story. The pieces range from softly drifting landscapes to challenging, noise-based works of art.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Sleeping Me, Cradlesongs
“…packed with lonely-guy-with-a-guitar-at-midnight melancholy as fingerpicked notes hover and fade over sighing background tones. The layers here are nicely stacked and deep, bringing a pronounced dimension to [Clayton] McEvoy’s sound.” Find it at Hidden Shoal Recordings.
Jason Sloan, corruptedHorizon
“Sloan builds upward from a base of gauzy guitar washes peppered with sharp beats, drum loops and intriguing, inventive clips of sound. The mix of texture and smoothness, ease and complexity, is perfect.” Available from Jason Sloan’s web site.
John Sobocan, Features of Spheres
“The more and deeper I listened to Features of Spheres, the more I heard and the more it really took hold of me. A perfect looping disc that doesn’t wear out. It’s original enough in approach and diverse enough in execution to keep a listener well engaged.” Available at Soundcloud.
Tim Story, Buzzle
“…unique, complex, soothing, envigorating, and perfectly constructed. A mix of downtempo beats and lounge-inspired etherea fleshed out with intriguing electronic treatments.” Available from Nepenthe Music.
Tim Story & Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Inlandish
“From the first graceful notes, it is clear that Inlandish is going to be a work of pure, calming beauty. As it moves along, however, what becomes even more clear is that it is an amazing, almost alchemical blend of growing intrigue, perfectly matching Story’s signature electronic twiddle and atmospheric manipulations with Roedelius’ straightforward, melodic piano.” Available from Nepenthe Music.
“While there is an overall warmth to Swartz’s tones, there are also touches of darkness hovering at the edges, sometimes passing over briefly like heavy clouds. What truly makes this disc work, however, is the power of nuance. It’s everywhere, and it’s beautifully done.” Available at Bandcamp.
“…a solid set of ambient guitar pieces that range from the soft and warm to the purposefully harsh and challenging, all with hardly a hint of their source instrument…the perfect blend of sonic attack and retreat, of mind massage and pay-attention listening.” Available at Undo’s myspace page.
Justin Vanderberg, In Waking Moments
“A gentle, meditative journey that courses unhurriedly through areas of light and shadow in equal parts.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Various, Sounds of a Universe Overheard (Hypnos)
“Hypnos head M. Griffin has done an amazing job not only of culling together from disparate sources a soft and dark blend of slow-moving ambient, but of seamlessly melding them one track to the next.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Various, Message from a Subatomic World (Hypnos)
“Ten dark-edged, droning ambient works, each rich in individual character while cut from the same somber cloth. This is my advice regarding this CD: set it on repeat, put on the headphones or lay down somewhere dark and quiet, and take the time to just be in it.” Available from Hypnos Records.
Venona Pers, The Past Is A Foreign Country
“There’s a lot going on, and Jonathan Hill and Grant Weston manage it all smoothly and confidently to make the small things matter. This is quite simply one of the best discs I’ve heard lately.” Available at the Venona Pers web site.
John Vorus, Transmuting Currents
“It is impossible not to completely immerse yourself in this work. Vorus has seamlessly layered myriad elements here, and Currents reveals more of itself and the elegant density of its crafting with each subsequent listen.” Available from the Steve Roach web site.
Philip Wilkerson, Sun Tracer
“…high-energy sequencer riffs that feel like they’ve been lifted whole from your seventies electronic-music record collection are offset by long stretches of yawning synth pads and airy washes. Wilkerson’s vision of the universe is a pleasure to observe, and Sun Tracer is a trip you’ll surely take many times over.” Available from Earth Mantra.
Philip Wilkerson, Interplay
“The five tracks here present a thoughtful story told in a near-whisper. The sounds evoke spaces both inner and outer, deep and far. There is nothing here but easy, soothing beauty.” Find it at Phillip Wilkerson’s web site.
Wes Willenbring, Somewhere, Someone Else
“…the emotion, the deeper thoughtfulness in each song lulls you into a state of contemplation, if not self-reflection, and your mind is set in motion by the feelings each piece stirs within you, pulling out threads of memory—and by the time you’ve faced what’s going on in your own thoughts Willenbring’s on to the next song and he’s doing it again.” Available from Hidden Shoal Records.
Wes Willenbring, Close, But Not Too Close
“Willenbring’s approach skirts the edge of minimalism in that there’s nothing here that isn’t absolutely inherent, nothing wedged or crammed in where it doesn’t belong. The notes fall like rain, the backgrounds shift and float like windblown curtains and everything sounds like it’s hanging at the precipice of heartbreak.” Available from Hidden Shoal Records.
Erik Wøllo, Gateway
“In these dozen tracks, each one a complete journey unto itself, lush processed chords and mutated guitar sounds mix with straightforward New Age playing that sometimes edges its way toward a suggestion of rock.” Available from Projekt.