This month, Andrew fills your ears with indie labels, ambient electronic, reissues and Arab Strap.
Instead of tossing a bunch of largely unrelated tracks together, I’ve compiled this list based on themes: a couple of exceptional smaller labels that should be on your radar, plus a few old ‘pals’ from my youth, with who I reconnected with over lockdown. Enjoy.
Low-key electronic production layered over deep, modulating polyrhythms. The artists on this young label – discovered thanks to the questionable algorithms of Spotify – all share one thing: an ability to create distinctive sonic landscapes that sound simultaneously synthetic and organic. The final track pushes it further and eases us nicely back into the post-pandemic dancefloor.
K-Lone – Yelli
Parris – Terrapin
Tristan Arp – Gypsum
Iglew – Hawksworth Woods
Facta – In Bloom
ATHENS OF THE NORTH
Home to some of the UK’s top ambient composers and multi-instrumentalists, this Edinburgh-based label also specialises in reissues of rarities and lost classics – from lover’s rock to boogie to early house and post-punk. Next time you’re trapped inside on a bleak, wet Sunday, head over to their Bandcamp and get lost deep down the AOTN rabbit role.
Andrew Wasylyk – Flight of the Cormorant
Hampshire & Foat – Lullaby
Warren Hampshire – Then It Was Gone
Bileo – You Can Win
Crisrail – November 18, 1983 – ESLA Dub
By most accounts, John Martyn was an abusive bastard, which begs the question: in 2022, should he only be listened to in that context, or can you separate the man from the music? I constantly struggle to reconcile the two, but there’s no doubt in his genius. The 1980 album Grace and Danger – forged in the despair of divorce – contains two of the greatest love songs ever written in Sweet Little Mystery and Hurt In Your Heart.
John Martyn – One World
John Martyn – Sweet Little Mystery
John Martyn – Hurt In Your Heart
John Martyn – May You Never
John Martyn – Cocain
These two wrote the soundtrack to my teens – here, however, I’ve largely pulled from their solo material and side projects. It’s weird and wonderful stuff: from the laid-back, reflective instrumentals of Human Don’t Be Angry to the ethereal, enchanting Nyx Nott, recorded by Aidan Moffat at night during crippling bouts of insomnia.
Human Don’t Be Angry – Cynical
Arab Strap – I Would Have Liked Me A Lot Last Night
Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley – Monkeys
Aidan Moffat – Quantum Theory Love Song
Nyx Nott – The Prairie
In 2001, when Basinski started digitizing old analogue tape loops from the 1980s, he discovered that parts of the audio would drop out as the iron oxide coating fell apart while it played on repeat. Thanks to this effect, The Disintegration Loops – generally considered one of the greatest ambient collections of all time – was born by glorious accident.
I’ve included part one here as a sort of bonus ‘track’ (it’s an hour-long…) to mark the fact that he’s performing at the Barbican next month with the LCO, and I have tickets.
William Basinski – dlp 1.1
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