Ekca Liena

Mix Tape #27 : Drone

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It’s 1 July, so here’s the new mix tape, focussing on the intense genre of drone. Drone music suffers the same kind of malaise as more generalised ambient music—immobility and drift as tacet apologias for a dearth of imagination and subtlety of ideas. But these 21 tracks offer an insight into something altogether more profound, plumbing the depths of immobility and stasis, teasing out faint, furtive tendrils of exotica. They represent a broad sonic palette, in terms of colour, dynamic and texture, incorporating elements from dark ambient and noise as well as more experimental electronics.

In all, two hours of droning wonder; here’s the tracklisting in full:

  • The Missing Ensemble – A Long Walk (from Zeropolis)
  • Access To Arasaka – 7.14 : Daedal (from A Sky Now Starless)
  • Shinobu Nemoto – Trip 10 (from Melting Loop Trip)
  • Deaf Center – Close Forever Watching (from Owl Splinters)
  • Ektoise – The Great Perpendicular Path (from Ektoise)
  • Anduin + Jasper TX – A Beam Of Light Bends Back Upon Itself… (from The Bending Of Light)
  • Decembered – “Только пепел знает…” (стихи И. Бродского) (from Ноктюрн)
  • Peter Wright – …And I Live By The River (from An Angel Fell Where The Kestrels Hover)
  • Herzog – Small Loves (from Small Loves)
  • Carbon Based Lifeforms – System (from TwentyThree)
  • The Hafler Trio – Vi-Parīta [excerpt] (from Exactly As I Am)
  • Leah Buckareff – Hypostasis (from Trinitarian)
  • Asva & Philippe Petit – Sweet Dreams Asshole (from Empires Should Burn…)
  • Organum – Horii [excerpt] (from Horii/Volume Two)
  • Benjamin Dauer – Falling Apart I (from Saturation Event)
  • Jonathan Coleclough – Halant [excerpt] (from Halant / Heat / Beech)
  • Charlemagne Palestine & Janek Schaefer – Fables from a Far Away Future [excerpt] (from Day Of The Demons)
  • Freiband – Haze Shrapnel (Remix) (from Haze Shrapnel)
  • Christopher Hipgrave – Heavy And Pulling You (from Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference)
  • Ekca Liena – Sleep (Minimal) (from Sleep Paralysis (Expansion Tracks))
  • The Beautiful Schizophonic – Bambilány (from Erotikon)

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Mix Tape #19 : Best of 2010

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s 1 January, which means it’s 5:4‘s birthday, and today we’re three years old. Having spent several days looking back on last year’s most outstanding releases, what better way could there be to start the new year than with a new mix tape, featuring one track from each of my forty best albums of 2010. As you’d expect, it’s another extremely eclectic mix, and this time lasts a little over three-and-a-half hours. If you like the mix (and how could you not?!), please support the artists and buy their excellent music.

Here’s the tracklisting in full (click the image for high-resolution artwork): Read more

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Best Albums of 2010 (Part 1)

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* Please note this list has how been superseded by the one on the Best Albums of the Years page *

Continuing the 5:4 retrospective, and after probably far too much deliberation, here are the first twenty of my forty Best Albums of 2010 (to be concluded tomorrow):

40 | Jenks Miller and Nicholas Szczepanik – American Gothic
Barely suppressed abrasion is the undercurrent throughout this fruitful collaboration. The context for it couldn’t be more gentle; “Sin Killers”, for example, suspends the rough edges as in a viscous liquid. But when the noise senses freedom, it’s like a bull at a gate; at first, in “White Light”, it emerges in fits and starts, but ultimately runs amok in final track “Cranberry Sauce”, turning its exquisitely beautiful stasis into an overwhelming torrent of effluvial overdrive.

39 | Supersilent – 10
Last year’s 9 proved conclusively that there was life for Supersilent after Jarle Vespestad’s departure, and its successor goes even farther. It’s Arve Henriksen’s astonishing trumpet-work that dominates this album, by turns evanescent (“10.1”), claustrophobic (“10.6”), and lyrical (“10.8” – one of this year’s most beautiful tracks), but at no point sounding remotely like a conventional trumpet. The evocative use of organ and electronics takes turns in both background and foreground; restraint is the watchword, though, only very occasionally protruding more forcefully, as in the bass thuds of the penultimate track. Read more

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Best EPs of 2010

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And so it finally begins, the lengthy annual retrospective of all that was best in 2010. As usual, let’s start with my run-down of the 10 Best EPs of the year:

10 | dB Soundworks – Steambirds (iOS) Soundtrack
Something of an oddity in this list, perhaps, but Danny Baranowsky’s synthetic score for the splendid iPhone game Steambirds is incredibly effective. He’s managed to capture perfectly the atmosphere and mannerisms suitable for the game’s airborne antics, bringing to mind the soundtracks of any number of British WWII films. The four-minute “Main Theme”, in particular, is full of variety, never composing by numbers, while the additional “Boss Track” takes the invention even further, supplemented by two splendid miniatures, corresponding to success or failure in the game. It’s available free (or not, if you’re feeling generous) via the dB Soundworks Bandcamp page. While you’re there, check out Baranowsky’s music for Canabalt, also stirring stuff.

9 | David Lynch – Good Day Today/I Know
Okay, hands up anyone who predicted David Lynch would bring out a single this year? Keep your hand up if you also knew it would be a delicate electronic dance number. No-one? Defying expectations with his typical enthusiasm and flair, Lynch’s twin A-side took everyone by surprise, maybe even Lynch himself. Über-processed vocals, autotuned to the nth degree, laid over a brisk, unimposing disco beat, it could all have been horribly cheesy. But Lynch somehow pulls off experiments like this, not only sounding like no-one else, but actually making it kind of cool. The more laid-back “I Know” is even better, more obviously Lynchian, ominous and rather unnerving. Read more

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