Hi there. Last Bandcloud of the year! I normally try and limit the numbers but since there's still lots and lots of music coming out, and there won't be any mails until January, I've made a bumper edition for your holiday listening.
Madeleine Cocolas - Cascadia
Sound designer and composer Madeleine Cocolas presents her debut album. It's lush and textured, all layered vocals and impeccable sound design. Brilliantly musical too, not just studio smoke and mirrors.
Nuances - Preserve The Sanctity Of Sound
Techno producer Manni Dee really wowed me with Life Between Screens, his ambient compilation for WotNot last year, and here he's dedicated a full release to that mode of production. Despite the questionable title, it's an engrossing take on a well worn genre. The opening track is a 10-minute exploration of scorched tones and searing emotion, and after that the mood is pretty much set. He doesn't stray much from this ghostly path, bar adding some found sound (raindrops, footsteps etc), but it's a perfect encapsulation of how this approach can work. The final track dips into Burial-esque beats, however, and it's the only dip in quality on an otherwise bracing release.
Various Artists - Kollektive 1
This giant collection comes from Iranian label Bitriot, and bar Linear Bells, Umchunga and Kate Carr the entire roster is new to me. There are absolutely beautiful tracks from Heinali, sodiufas and loads more.
Expo '70 - Kinetic Tones
Beautiful medium-length drone stuff, which aims to propel you into simultaneously deeper and higher brain territories. Gnarly out-there guitar solos feature, as do unwavering organ tones. Something for everyone this festive season.
gadget and the cloud - october 31st (demo)
The date in this one gives away how late I am in sharing it. It's classed as a demo, but bar some abrupt endings it's a pretty solid and accomplished work. Slightly trippy electronica, a bit hazy, a bit bouncy. The artwork is class too.
Sound Collective - No Room? 2015
Super collection of ~sound art~ put together as a compilation to raise money for the UK's homeless. Chrissie Caulfield of Helicopter Quartet is the only artist I know on it (she does track 1) but the rest is v good too, of course, otherwise it wouldn't feature here. An utterly face-melting barrage of noise is followed by a *quirky* take on 'Jingle Bells', for example — anything goes here.
worriedaboutsatan - The Beeching Axe
This track by worriedaboutsatan features on the latest in a series of "seasonal compilations featuring new music inspired by rail travel". The concept here is about that time when it's so dark all you can see out the window of the train is your own reflection. It's dark and long, but beautifully melodic.
Sharp Veins - bye sun (for rinse & mitch)
Sharp Veins did a mix for Mr Mitch last month to mark the changing of the seasons. It's got a lot of slightly sad and gloopy music, from himself, and Mitch, and stuff like that repressed Mariah record and bits and pieces from Helm and so on. :(, but in a good way.
orialandjoe - Wasglow
This is a multi-part piece from Joe Panama and his friend Orial in Scotland, mastered in Tullamore. He says it's two tracks connected by a bridge but I prefer to think of it as a dramatic suite. Joe has a great podcast/show/thing called Dozer where he gives full airings to movements from grand artists like Stars of The Lid and Joseph Curwen.
wonj - Mix For Floating World Music
Our friend Wonja did a mix for Bass Clef's Floating World Music recently, steering clear of gamelan because there's enough of that on the show already (although one could say there is no such thing as too much gamelan). Float away.
Ivy Barkakati - Dublab.es Proton Drive Support Event 11.28.15
Super mix from Ivy B that starts with 'Shari Vari', immediately jumps into 'Clan In Da Front' before chopping up Chaka Khan, all in the first 10 minutes. Funk, soul and Sade all follow.
Robert Donne, Stephen Vitiello, and The OO-Ray (Ted Laderas) - Nuvole
This set of two tracks by "sonic tinkerers" is described as "pitch black reveries masked by deep, elongated shadows and stashed down alluringly anonymous corridors". SOLD. It's really good though, meets the hype. (There is no hype, bar this par, I think. Geo North is a hype-worthy label though.)
Sophia Webster x Rinse - Mixtape #002 - Jingle Jams
OH GOD THIS MIX. Put together by Rinse FM's Yasmin in association with shoe designer Sophia Webster, it's called Jingle Jams but it's more jams than jingle. It starts with TLC singing 'Sleigh Ride' before mixing beautifully into the Bad Boy remix of 112's 'Only You', with more Bad Boy to follow in the shape of the BB remix of Mariah Carey's 'Honey' (not the track you'd expect to hear from her right now, but it's so mild you may as well be jet-skiing in Puerto Rico for Christmas). TONS more jams in there, like early Usher and pre-shooting 50 (featuring Destiny's Child, who close out the mix with *guess what*), and a Bad Boy crew take on 'Santa Baby', and some 2015 Drake. Shola Ama too. Sorry for all the words but this is just too good.
That's it. I hope you've found some music you've enjoyed over the past 12 months. I also hope you have a wonderful festive period (whether or not you celebrate Christmas) and may the arbitrary line in the sand that is the start of 2016 bring you new promise.