Morning campers. It’s your old pal Paul back again with this weeks Monday mixtape. This week, I’m taking this feature in a new direction. The following tracks all have one thing in common and that is they all lack a contribution from one rather major instrument… the drums. In fact, with the exception of the 1st track, none of them have vocals either. Drifting from pop-ish ambience to synth based drones to post rock experimentation, each of these songs take you on a journey. And it begins now…
1. Darkstar – Two Chords
Taken from their debut album released on Hyperdub (reviewed on this very website by moi), this was the first song i’d heard from the album. It was on Kode9 and Burials mix for Mary Anne Hobbs last show and it overshadowed every other track. Building up layers of synth, eerie vocal samples and vocalist James Butterys computer treated vocals, it makes you think it’s leading up to a massive crescendo and then ends, leaving you somewhat fulfilled despite that fact it didn’t fully kick in. Superb.
2. Oneohtrix Point Never – Zones Without People
I have a tendency to write off acts before I give them a proper listen. I did it with Burial, I somehow did it with Flying Lotus and I certainly did it with Daniel Lopatin AKA Oneohtrix Point Never. Maybe not the easiest of acts to listen to, especially if you’re not a fan of synths. This track is probably my favourite off his 2009 release Rifts (which is a collection of his hard to find and limited edition works) and perfectly highlights the mans vision. Just layers of synths creating a beautiful melody that really needs to be heard to be understood.
3. Tim Hecker – Chimeras
Tim Hecker is probably one of the most well know names within the ambient music community. His beautiful ambient passages, best illustrated by this track off his Harmony in Ultraviolet album, are subtle pieces of instrumentation, weaving a mellow guitar section with synths and gentle field recordings, all wrapped up with a mellow distortion in the background that brings it all together. Doesn’t get much better.
4. Pariah – Safehouses
Probably quite a surprise selection for this mixtape. Anyone who knows Pariah knows that he is primarily known for his dubstep and his beats. But anyone who has heard his Safehouse EP will know this song and will know what this man is capable of. An ambient piece that is reminiscent of Selected Ambient Works era Aphex Twin and sounds as if he is influenced by Tim Heckers work. If you want to hear more stuff from him in this vein, definitely check out his remix of the Forest Swords track ‘Hjurt’.
5. Ben Frost – Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes
Ben Frost’s By The Throat album was probably one of my favourite albums of 2009. It’s harsh electronics mixed with piano, strings and intimidating guitar parts was unlike anything i’d heard before and opened me up to a whole host of other electronic and ambient artists I would have missed out on otherwise. This track is one of the many stand out tracks on the album. Led by piano and distorted strings, it paints a bleak picture that gets scarier as the track goes on. Probably my favourite track on this mix.
And that’s it. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s music that has heart and can soundtrack anything from laid back summer nights in the garden to difficult walks home in blizzard like snow. If you like any of it, I strongly urge you to check out more.