"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Capelli camicia

Ineptitude or high-mindedness? Either way (both, really), LMYE's Festive 33-1/3 - a selection of the releases that meant most to us in 2016 - again emerges on the last day of the year...

The song remains the same too: a clunky but sincere attempt to acknowledge how much more great music was released over the year, even just in our narrow corner of endeavour, than an inevitably partial list like this can begin to embrace. 

To spread the love as far as possible the two of us select 15 releases each, but no more than one per label or artist. After a bit of jostling & horse-trading over duplicates (though barely any this year, when we've evidently been further apart in our listening than previously...), we supplement the 30 with four projects that fall outside the normal 'release' boundaries - bigger &/or more ambitious (in multiple media, for example), or not strictly new - to derive our 33-1/3. 

This year's list has been unusually challenging since a number of key labels were in overdrive. Grand projects have multiplied too. So our self-constraining methodology became even more masochistic.

How, to take an especially painful example, to choose between Bethan Kellough's Aven & Claire M. Singer's Solas? Two exceptional releases that each expanded notions of sound palettes & what could be done with them, but both on Touch (about whom more shortly...). 

& that's to exclude Yann Novak's Ornamentation, Simon Scott's Floodlines, Anna von Hauswolff's Kallan (Prototype) & Fennesz's Mahler Remix, despite all four clearly demanding recognitition as part of the year's 'best'. 

Ditto conflicts between multiple pieces of outstanding work on Dragon's Eye, Editions Mego, Line, Room40, Sonic Pieces & Students of Decay - to highlight the concerns of only one pair of LMYE ears. 

Note to self: a follow-up without the hair shirt may be needed to honour all these exclusions.

At the very least, for a less partial picture of our listening priorities please check out the monthly Lend Me Your Radio series on SoundCloud, al's Mixcloud & jl's Bandcamp (collection & wish list)

2016 Festive 33-1/3:

Jeremy Bible - Music for Black Holes (Aole) [jl]
Dirty Hope/Graham Dunning/David Fyans/Mark Lyken/Orphax/TVO/Arne Weinberg - li series (Broken20) [jl]
Stephan Mathieu - Radiance series (Schwebung) [jl]
Abul Mogard - Works (Ecstatic) [al]

1991 - No More Dreams (No More Dreams) [al]
Chris Abrahams - Climb (Vegetable) [jl]
anthéne - Black Carbon (Assembly Field) [jl]
Beautumn - Bordeaux (Infraction) [al]
Benoît Pioulard - Thine / Radial (self-released) [al]
Bruised Skies - Guide (Blank Editions) [al]
Celestino - Beyond Enemy (A Guide To Saints) [al]
Dominic Coppola - Ladylike EP (Overview Ltd.) [al]

drøne - reversing into the future (Pomperipossa) [jl]
Drottning Omma - Iris av is (offworldcolonies ltd.) [al]
Christian Fennesz & Jim O'Rourke - It's Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry (Editions Mego) [jl]
Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci - Agoraphonia (Dronarivm) [jl]
Billy Gomberg - Slight at that Contact (Students of Decay) [jl]
Tobias Hellkvist - Vesterhavet (self-released) [jl]
Chris Herbert - Katushki (Low Point) [jl]

Braeyden Jae - Fog Mirror (Whited Sepulchre) [al]
KETEV - I Know No Weekend (Portals Editions) [al]
Bethan Kellough - Aven (Touch) [jl]
L’eoscombu Couti - Five Cambridge Utilities (Constellation Tatsu) [al]
Sophia Loizou - Singulacra (Kathexis) [al]
Sana Obruent - Prince of the Air (Blackjack Illuminist) [al]
Marsen Jules - Shadows in Time (Oktaf) [jl]
Moss Covered Technology - Speicherbank (Eilean) [al]

New Rome - Nowhere (Room40) [al]
Nils Quak - Ad Interim (Phinery) [jl]
Alex Smalley - JAN SBR 15 (Rural Colours) [jl] 
The Swifter - Wall Sailor (Sonic Pieces) [jl]
Triac - Here (Line) [jl]
Willamette - Diminished Composition (Scissor Tail) [al]
Uwe Zahn/Porya Hatami/Darren McClure - Veerian (Eilean) [jl]

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Friday, 30 December 2016


It's hardly a surprise from the home of Cosi, Ielasi, Orsi & Ratti, of course. But so much ravishing music emerged there in 2016 that if we were indifferent enough to the category's absurdity Italy would surely be LMYE's Country of the Year...

As our Festive 33-1/3 - out tomorrow, allegedly - will show, some of the 2016 releases that mattered most to these ears are by Italian artists. A number of those that fell victim to our hair-shirted methodology (only one release per label/artist) are too. 

This, ahem, renaissance embraces a host of styles - from post-rock to ultra-minimalism. Given that, is there anything distinctively Italian threading them together beyond nationality? 

Perhaps. Many of the artists below manifest notable care & restraint over their sounds - a commitment to selection & balance that seems rooted in the country's broader culture. Che figata!


Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Dark calm

Contrasting pieces from two very different artists united by inspiration from Coil

David Fyans/Erstlaub's Sedna follows being "on trains the last few weeks looking at the sea & thinking about what a great chasm has been left in the absence of Coil" & "is dedicated to Peter Christopherson on the 6th anniversary of his passing". Similarly, Fred Welton Warmsley/Lee Bannon's Dedekind Cut "draws out the dark calm of Coil, in the guise [of] a modern approach to Noise, New Age & Ambient music". 

DC's ravishing Conversations with angels (from $uccessor [Wikipedia]) draws on an appropriately celestial palette. Where Conversations is vast & nearly weightless, Sedna carries a queasy, wilting physicality. Although both have a satisfying spaciousness, Fyans' diverting piece (bearing his characteristic 'experimental drone eurorack modular magick modular synthesizer noise ritual synthesis' tags) draws its weighty power from a sense of machines running down - indifferently repeating tasks, but with growing warp & drift...

Hat-tip to Shimmering Moods, whose new Resonance Extra #5 tipped these ears to DC... 

Bonus: Surgeon's immense Peter Christopherson tribute mix ("The first hour of my DJ set at Bleep43 on December 3rd was a tribute to Peter Christopherson, who died on November 25th. I chose tracks that either featured his voice, or that I especially connected with him. Recorded at Corsica Studios, London, between 11pm & midnight on December 3rd, 2010.")

NB: top photo by David Fyans

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Ian Hawgood's Love Retained is laced with poignancy. These 10 sketches - "simple pieces...tracked to cassette, & contain[ing] no editing or mastering, so you know, filled with 'mistakes'" - are deeply affecting. Their restraint & directness amplifies the sense of frailty around their "beautiful & freeing" incompletion.

Hawgood originally intended to pass the mostly piano tracks on to potential collaborators. But he came to use them unadorned: "looping on low levels at night, or when the mind wonders/wanders."

The release - numbered homen100, formally out on Christmas Day & with a photo by Melanie Hawgood - is also intensely valedictory. Due to depression, Hawgood "will likely not complete a new album ever again." As a result, it marks "my first & last solo release on the label [Home Normal] I founded with my friend Ben many moons ago, & also marks me fully stepping down from the label after returning for a bit in 2016."

Profits will go to Mind

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Whispers, torn paper

So endlessly creative & so relentlessly collaborative are Jan & Romke Kleefstra that it's disconcerting to find that LMYE's favourite Friesians have gone over a year without a formal release. But the hiatus is over, thankfully.

A trio of new & imminent albums starts with the long-gestated first offering of their venerable Tsjinlûd collective - a book ('full colour hard cover, with black & white contents, containing photography, drawings, paintings and poetry by all seven Tsjinlûd-members') & CD package. Mixed, edited & graphic designed by the great Machinefabriek - the Kleefstras' partner in Piiptsjilling - it is freighted with their characteristic drowsy, somehow ceremonial atmosphere but takes on a chattering, hall of mirrors quality through the collective's salty suite of North Sea voices. 

In addition, the brothers' trio with fellow Tsjinlûddite Anne Chris Bakker has new cassettes due soon on both Low Point (previously responsible for KBK's lovely Griis) & Tombed Visions. A richly, darkly droning instalment of the former - some of which was previously on Ambientblog.net's 10th anniversary collection a year ago - emerged yesterday...

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Trumpton clock

Three deep responses from Billy Gomberg, Eleh & Anne Guthrie to last week's Trumpageddon.  

Eleh's is "offered as a point of focus; a means of finding temporary solace from social & political turmoil", while the fraufraulein pair similarly "found solace in creating a musical diary of sorts in this immediate moment of grief."

The soothing, swelling 11.9.16 forms part of a forthcoming LP-only series, Home Age. The darker, more restless fraufraulein pieces - Gomberg's sonorously clanking, Guthrie's more anxious & scattered despite its lovely horn - are the core of 7C, a fundraiser for EarthJustice, NAACP & NARAL. 

Self-released today, it also includes a duo improvisation & a long field recording from marches & protests in New York. "The work is raw and immediate, not a polished album that we have refined over months, but we feel that it is important to start contributing to dialogues & organizations, & communicating with those who listen about where we are in this process. Right now, we are at the beginning."

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Psaume Sunday

Add an extra half to LMYE's Canadian pantheon: L'eoscumbo Couti.

From the languid bliss-drone of the recent-ish la conduite d'un véhicule avec zéro émission à travers un paysage que vous vous souvenez depuis l'enfance I to the dank murkiness of his Sendoff for Tony Conrad, via the lovely poise of Five Cambridge Utilitiesbrrd's Quebecois alter ego makes a compelling case for independence... 

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Timbri interstellari

In less than two years Danny Clay & Greg Gorlen have already produced so much staggeringly good work together - both on Gorlen's Cascading Fragments & Sifting through Shards, as well as for Mmm Sound & for Canti Magnetici & its related Kirlian Recordings - that these ears are shamed to have only come across these plaintive, dappled delicacies very recently...

From the plangent, keening Brittle & Marigolds (their most recent output - an edition of 80 tapes on CM & a digital self-release on StS) to last year's lovely, stately Conch, the pair conjure something ravishing out of their palette of "junk, found tapes, & home made cassette loops", as Gorlen puts it. 

You could mention faint warping, a gaseous, blurry mood, the occasional felted piano refrain, a far-off grumbling guitar. But none of this begins to capture how affecting, how frail & human this music is. 

NB: images from Canti Magnetici & Mmm SoundImportant: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Hidden burn

Drama - the sense of moment, event or even ritual - figures notably large in Touch’s recent output. It always has, of course (think Kiri No Oto or Without Sinking…). But ravishing new releases like Claire M Singer’s  Solas & Bethan Kellough’s Aven seem drenched in it - most obviously because of their string & organ parts, but more broadly because of their shade & light interplay of acoustic, electronic & field recording elements.

It also seems to reflect the imprint’s growing body of live releases this year. Aven is one; Floodlines by Simon Scott – whose gripping Insomni for Touch affiliate Ash International was part of LMYE’s 2015 Festive 33-1/3 - & Fennesz's Mahler Remix two more. All clearly gain great atmosphere & power from being captured in the moment... 

Touch’s US West Coast ‘conference’ in the summer amped up this emphasis on performance. Besides Aven, gripping shows by Philip Jeck, Daniel Menche and Mark Van Hoen were shared through Touch Radio – a wonderfully rich ‘platform for recordings from artists affiliated to or whose work appears on Touch’. 

To these ears at least, it connects too to drøne’s Reversing Into the Future. This thrilling piece – surely the most kinetic non-dancefloor record in an age ("sounds moan and sing, forming their own phonemes") – feels like an honorary part of Touch’s work even if formally a debut for Anna von Hausswolff’s Pomperipossa: a collaboration between Touch co-founder Mike Harding & Van Hoen (whose digital-only Artefacts I came out on the ‘audio-visual resource for ‘emerging artists’’ TOUCHLINE in October 2015). 

Much more Touch performance in tonight's 17th Spire ("organ works past present & future") at Organ Reframed - for which Singer is artistic director. Hope to see you there...

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Wade Paddle Row Float

Yet another party that these ears are late to, granted - but Jeremy Young's The Chants Beneath 'project' ("There is no album, or record, and no distribution, this collection exists only here") is so rich & so replete with members of the LMYE pantheon that recognition is due all the same. 

The idea: "create 125 unique artist edition double-sided loop pieces towards developing sustainable audience engagement with the sonic arts, housing all the loops online in a freely streamable living archive and commissioning over 120 sound artists to create new work using each singular piece."

Fair enough, not least when the artists in question include (alphabetically, not in archival running order...) Astral Social Club, Jimmy Billingham, John Chantler, Chris Herbert, Giuseppi Ielasi, Julia Kent, Machinefabriek, Josh Mason, Daniel Menche, My Cat Is An Alien, Orphax, Stefano Pilia, pinkcourtesyphone, Nils Quak, Janek Schaefer, Mike Shiflet, thisquietarmy & Simon Whetham

The result: a glorious, defiantly non-commercial "living archive of cassette tape loops" based on 125 pairs of 7-second loops from Young's ravishing original chants beneath the bed of the furnace brook ("a descriptive reflection of movement and stillness"). 

Highlights are headed by Orphax's insistent, beautifully balanced 'remix'. Less than five minutes, it seems to embody the idea of a loop as something without beginning or end that could play on, satisfyingly, forever...

MCIAA's celestial/skittering/naif/bass smear brew also jumps out, along with compatriot Stefano Pilia's on-the-brink-of-collapsing workoutJanek Schaefer's equally intense Golden Gatesa hovering, gauzy take by Chris Herbert & Julia Kent's glowing gloop-meets-bow Round, Reversed   

Other compelling contributions include the unfurling, tendril-like Together at Wimshurst by Drew BarnettNils Quak's soothing, contemplative The Crying of Lot 32 & pcp's subtle, shaped Tape Chanting As We Speak

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Belgrade Farfisa

If the official 'retired Serbian steelworker turned self-taught electronic musician' line around Abul Mogard is in any way true, his is an extraordinary trajectory. But even if - as seems likely - it's just a confection to make 'his' music stand out from others', what really differentiates this work (a handful of tapes, remixes & a recent-ish compilation on Ecstatic) is its poise & - sorry - grandeur. 

It's been a year since the last original (ahem...) Mogard release, Circular Forms. These ears are primed for more of these affecting, swelling textures - their emotional heft belied by the banality of their self-description as "made using Farfisa organ, synthesisers and computer software"

Spotify playlist

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.
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