Recent listening 1/2021 🎛🎶

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since my last wee round up. What with the Bandcamp Fridays and all, I’ve consumed a stupid amount of new stuff which you can always nosey through on my Bandcamp fan page. But here’s six more releases I’ve enjoyed a lot in the last six months or so. All ambient stuff this time.

The Arteries of New York City – The Arteries of New York City (Bloxham Tapes)

Beautiful mysterious lounge bar jazz wanderings juxtaposed with more abstract atmospheres. The vocal closing track is a perfect way to go out – almost feels like a spoiler to mention it, sorry.

Jonathan Fitoussi – Plein Soleil (Transversales Disques)

Pretty, drum-free arpeggiating synth stuff, like taking something like Tangerine Dream’s ‘Love On A Real Train’ and exploring every branch that one track could take you down. 

The label is primarily a reissue label, which perhaps gives you a feel for how this is fairly retro. Still, it’s a clean and clear sounding beast compared to the more collagey or murky things I’m writing up elsewhere in this post.

Ike Zwanikken – For Little Limp and Tunnel Vision (Storage Media)

Four more ambient tracks, sometimes punctuated by majorly muffled or distant-sounding drums (but it’s always kept sparse). There’s a lot little events, layers and subtleties in these tracks, but mostly they just sound great. 🌹

Ike is from New Zealand and this was recorded in Berlin in 2017, but only released this year. It’s a massive contrast to the equally detailed, skittery dancey stuff he’s also put out as Ike.

Jeannine Schulz – Serve (self-released)

What I hear is a combination of grungey tape loops – plucks (guitars?) and chiming synth sounds – mixed with rich organ type keyboards. RIYL Marcus Fischer, Taylor Deupree, or both!

Schulz appeared seemingly out of nowhere this year and has cranked out a crazy number of releases. I haven’t checked out any others closely yet, because this has been enough. Really relaxing without being cloying, imo.

Robbie Elizee – Windows 95 Startup Blues / Central Standard Time (self-released)

All 3 tracks are absolutely cracking drones. I never know what distinguishes what I love from what I don’t, but this release has that thing.

Around the time of Black Lives Matters protests kicking off again earlier in 2020, there was a request on reddit for recommendations of Black musicians making ambient and this guy went in for a bit of self-promotion. I’m glad he did.

Nate Johnston – A Constellation of Similarities (AEMC Records)

A collection of curious little mysteries and surprises, mixing wandering synths with wordless male harmonies reminiscent of Beach Boys slow numbers, acoustic instruments, and who knows what else?

This is the first single-artist release from a record label that has evolved out of a Facebook group, Ambient and Experimental Music Community (AEMC). For all that Facebook might seem like a diminished and still-fading thing, I have to admit this group has been a quietly enjoyable “place” to spend some time. Social media platform guilty pleasures?