Monday, December 31, 2007

The soundtrack for the last 9 minutes and 18 seconds of my 2007

Eluvium - Repose In Blue
(Copia, 2007)

Why: It has fireworks sounds (fireworks!) embedded from around the 5:34 mark.

Happy new year, everyone! It's a brand new beginning...all over again...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Susumu Yokota

Susumu Yokota is a well-respected Japanese ambient composer with works spanning over a decade, and though that pic above, shown on his homepage, might indicate that he has a sense of humor, his music tends to be on the more serious side. 'Love Or Die', his most recent album, was my first proper introduction to him. Experimental, yet not so unreachable, the album's a collection of ambient/electronica/post-rock tracks with lengthy, albeit descriptive titles. It's typically what you would normally expect from a Japanese name like his, something zen-like and vaguely melancholy, which is quite fitting for the winter weather. Play these samples after the night falls down, for that is the appropriate occasion for this kind of music...

Susumu Yokota - For The Other Self Who Is Far Away That I Can Not Reach
Susumu Yokota - The Destiny Of The Little Bird Trapped Inside A Small Cage For Life
Susumu Yokota - A Song Produced While Floating Alone On Christmas Day
(Love Or Die, 2007)

Official site/Buy

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Spirited Away OST

The other day I decided to watch Spirited Away, one of my all-time favorite animated movies, again, but this time I chose the English dubbed version. I remembered someone once said to me that Japanese is the cutest language ever, and I think in this case, that is aboslutely right. Though the voice actors did a fine job, it appeared that the original Japanese voice cast was part of its charm. Anyway, this time around, I paid more attention to the score, and it intrigued me enough to go look it up and found out that the composer is Joe Hisaichi, who also composed score for most of Hayao Miyazaki's works. It's funny how there's almost no English websites about him. Eventually, I sit down and spent a whole house listening to all the score, and while some of the more orchestral tracks don't really work on a standalone listening experience, the more serene pieces most certainly do. Every time I hear those, I keep picturing images in my mind: green meadows underneath a deep blue sky, train passing the river after a rainy night, or the train station with quiet, black, intangible spirits...Achingly beautiful...

Day Of The River
The Sixth Station
A Road To Somewhere


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Don Peris

Mid-Novemeber. It's about time we torched the holiday spirit again, no?

Don Peris is the guitarist of The Innocence Mission/husband of their singer, Karen Peris. As you can see, they've been around long enough to be called 'veterans'. Under his own name, Don has released two solo albums to date and the latest and third one, to be released soon this winter, will be holiday-themed. It's entitled "Brighter Visions Beam Afar", a collection of 15 Christmas carols, all arranged and performed solo with his acoustic guitar. After having a sneak peek at two preview tracks, I can say that this album's bound to be a lovely, heartwarming gift for this Christmas, especially when a portion of the profit will be collected for charity. Fans of the band shouldn't miss this release, neither should fans of simplistically wonderful acoustic guitar instrumental. The two following tracks are available on his MySpace, but to save you all the trouble of badly tagged mp3s and difficult download systems, I've tagged them properly and uploaded them myself. It's probably a bit too early, but hey, better be prepared.

Don Peris - Silent Night
Don Peris - Angels We Heard On High

MySpace/Buy/More mp3s at his official site

As a bonus, here's one more ditty, from his second album, "Go When the Morning Shineth ":

Don Peris - Day Trip

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


lanterna (which means 'magic lantern') is the solo project of Illinois-based guitarist Henry Frayne. With a delay pedal and a guitar, he creates what I'd like to call 'day trip music'. Instrumental and spacey, his music is the perfect soundtrack for those highway journeys, when you feel like "Okay, I've had it with all the noise and hurry of the city, let's just take a few days off, and drive to the countryside, on those winding roads". It's lively, it's sunny, it makes you feel so warm inside. lanterna has made a total of five albums to date, the most recent one being the 2006 'Desert Ocean', out on the instrumental label 'Jemez Mountain'. I surprisingly like his stuff considering I hardly ever got into anything like this before. If you're not convinced, then just try 'Brightness' first, and grab the rest if you're not afraid for more.

Highways (2004):
"Brightness" (mp3)
from "Highways"
(Badman Recording Co)
Buy at Insound

Brooklyn (mp3)
Canyons (mp3)

Sands (2002):

"Greek Island" (mp3)
from "Sands"
(Badman Recording Co)
Buy at Insound

elm street (2001):
elm streetlanterna
"B Minor" (mp3)
from "elm street"
(Badman Recording Co)
Buy at Insound

Desert Ocean (2006)


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Midnight Mix: 2007 Halloween Mix - Part 2

The Bamboo Orchestra is back after the long break, and what a better time to come back than the Halloween night, with a new Midnight Mix? This is part 2 of my annual Halloween mix, (you can view part 1 here).
The overall mood is: dark, sinister and mystical. Various tones throughout the mix, ranging from German IDM to horror movie score. Most of the five tracks are wordless, with the exception of the closer, a haunting classic from Cibo Matto. For a setting, think of an empty, winding road. Dark clouds rolling above. The clapping of leaves. The spine-tingling, crying wind. Echoes coming from afar. The rest is up to your imagination. Enjoy. Have a happy Halloween!

Trentemoller - Vamp
(The Last Resort, 2006)
Boards Of Canada - The Devil Is In The Details
(Geogaddi - 2002)
Hans Zimmer - This Is Going To Hurt
(The Ring/The Ring Two OST - 2005)
Clark - Vengeance Drools
(Body Riddle, 2006)
Cibo Matto - Sugar Water
(Viva! La Woman, 1996)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


The idea of netlabels is quite interesting, innit? Basically, it's about screwing all the major, painstaking steps of having a cd out the traditional way - packaging, distributing and all. All you need is to rip your tracks to DRM-free mp3s with acceptable quality, make a cover in jpeg format, zip them all and upload the final product to the interwebs. Much more economical, especially for bands whose main priority is just to be heard. However, the drawback is that since it's so easy, it takes time to find something obscure that's worth your time, to find a label whose taste you can trust. And also, most releases available are EPs only, plus netlabels seem to be existing exclusively for experimental/electronic fields.
Anyway, every now and then, I bumped into some good stuff, and oto is definitely one of those gems. They're a 4-piece California-based Japanese outfit who makes tiny ambient music "using live instruments such as guitar, xylophone and melodica along with electronic sounds and field recordings". Their first EP, 'Sketch #1', was also the first web release of Creation Centre, the netlabel offshoot of a little NY independent experimental label named Music Related. The music is mostly instrumental, organic, and tranquil. Here's how they describe it, in all of its copy-and-paste glory: "this EP would best be enjoyed on a late summer evening, sitting by a river. alone, or with friends." Well, I couldn't say it better. Save it for the next trip with your family to the countryside or somewhere else far from the city noises, personally I found the tracks to sound quite lovely in autumn, too. If you like what you hear, then you can go here to download one more track (since the EP consists of only 3), or download it as a zip with two choices, 128kps mp3 and 192kps iTunes-friendly m4a. You can also donate to them, if you feel a bit guilty. I hope these guys release a full-length soon...

oto - Color
oto - My Blue Plane

MySpace/Official site
(more tracks for your streaming pleasure there)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bebel Gilberto

Bebel's the daughter of Brazillian guitarist João Gilberto, and she's been making a name of her own, too. Her latest album, 'Momento', also her third, was an essential summer record of mine. Her music is pretty much what you might expect, breezy bossa nova with acoustic guitars, Latin tones, and electronica flourishes. And she has quite an angelic, smooth voice to deliver those tunes in both English and Portugese. The best place to listen to the records is probably by the beach at a full-moon night. 3.5/5 stars.

Bebel Gilberto - Night & Day
Bebel Gilberto - Bring Back The Love
Bebel Gilberto - Um Segundo


Ulrich Schnauss

The Berlin-based producer-slash-musician's third album "Goodbye" was released back in June, and for me, it's another fine record of his trademark dreamy, ambient shoegaze electronica. His music has always been more about creating an atmosphere, a surface for listeners to float on. Close your eyes, ease your mind, and let your imagination take you to non-existent landscapes. My verdict: 3.5/5 stars. Ulrich Schnauss's currently on tour with vocalist Judith Beck.

Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye
Ulrich Schnauss - A Song About Hope


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I've developed an obsession for Japanese underground music scene lately. Japan is quite a land of diversity, isn't it? All the Ayumis, Utadas, and Namies can battle for the number one spot on the national charts, and still there are plenty of undiscovered fields for those avant-garde, experimental artist to conquer.
Gutevolk is the moniker of Hirono Nishiyama, whose latest album entitled 'Tiny People Singing Over The Rainbow' (kawaii!) was just released in February this year. Her music is a blend of so many different genres that it becomes unclassifiable. It's folk-tinged, it's dream-pop, it's shoegaze, it's ambient, it's electronica, all mixed up together. It's navel-gazing yet never monotomous, it's pretty but engaging enough, it's drifting but sonically sparkling to hold your interest. More wonderfully, she sings mostly in Japanese so I don't have to worry about what the lyrics are about. Without the internet, outsiders like me could never have access to such unique music like this. 3.5/5 stars. For now, it's pretty hard to get a copy since it's only available over there, so sample a couple of tracks below. Tell me what you think, if you like it, there's much more to blog about from the land of rising sun.

Gutevolk - Dream Walker
Gutevolk - The Door To Everywhere

Official Website/Buy (at Japanese label site)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pink Martini

Like most people, the song that introduced me to Pink Martini was 'Sympathique' (and the clever educational video of it). I immediately fell in love with them, and seeked out for more. The Portland-based 12-piece band, with lead vocals of China Forbes, play this kind of big-band, loungey, classical, Latin-influenced cabaret music. Hard to pin it down, but it's all very soothing and easy listening. Their latest album, 'Hey Eugene', got a 3.5/5 from me. Though the fun is still there, I still felt as if something was missing, and I didn't really look forward to giving another spin again. However, it's great that they're still around after all these years.
'Everywhere' could easily be a song from those vintage musical movies shown on cable in the early hours, and the title track is classic Pink Martini. Enjoy.

Pink Martini - Everywhere
Pink Martini - Hey Eugene!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Midnight Mix: The Piano Under The Chandelier

Another late night mix, best to be listened to alone in a dark, void room filled with a stark silence. Five downbeat, meditative instrumental piano pieces. The first two is lingering, airy ambient. German-born composer Max Richter mixed piano and string arrangements to make a piece that deserves to be a movie score, and Craig Armstrong provides one that's already in a critically-acclaimed movie. To end the list is the Grammy-winning instrumental track from songstress Sarah McLachlan's landmark album in 1997. Enjoy.

Eluvium - Prelude For Time Feelers
(Copia, 2007)
Broken Spindles - Inward
(Inside/Absent, 2005)
Max Richter - Autumn Music 2
(Songs From Before, 2006)
Craig Armstrong - Glasgow Love Theme
(Love Actually, 2003)
Sarah McLachlan - Last Dance
(Surface, 1997)

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Epic45 is Ben Holton and Rob Glover. Their latest album, 'May Your Heart Be The Map' was out earlier this year on the UK indie label Make Mine Music. Their music is mostly-instrumental glitchy electronica fused with acoustic sounds, a tad experimental yet accesible, with quite illustrative track titles. Definitely a record for the morningtime. A lovely way to start your day/your season of falling leaves. 3.5/5.

Epic45 - The Stars In Spring
Epic45 - Winterbirds
Epic45 - We Grew Up Playing In The Fields


Friday, September 21, 2007

Readymade FC

Readymade FC is the one-man band of French multi-instrumentalist/producer Jean-Philippe Verdin. Though his sophomore album 'Babilonia' was released back in Jan 2006, it was only today that I had the chance to listen to it in its entirety.
His music is impossible to pigeonhole. Electronic textures? Check. Folky acoustic guitar? Check. Baroque pop? Check. Feist collaboration? Check. With so many influences and sounds wrapped up in one, it's an amazing album that's enjoyable from start to finish, one that I can be sure I will revisit for weeks to come. I dare you to listen to 'The Only One', featuring the vocal talent of Yael Naim, and not feel moved by the song. 'Bare Feet' is another highlight, warm and fuzzy. The right time for the cd would be the evening, when you just get back home from a long day at work, in need of some music to wind you down while you take care of the dinner.
A solid, overlooked gem of an album. 4/5 stars, indeed.

Readymade FC - The Only One (feat. Yael Naim)
Readymade FC - Bare Feet


If you have the time, make sure to check out the smart video for 'The Only One' too. (lyrics being displayed through various objects of a little boy)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Bitter:sweet are Shana Halligan & Kiran Shahani, based in Los Angeles.
Sultry, sexy and hip-swaying, that's the sound they aim for. I can imagine their songs playing in exquisite lounges, full of glamorous-looking, martini-sipping women in designer dresses, and well-groomed, nicely-suited businessmen. In fact, they wouldn't sound out of place at all in a Bond movie, or some '60s spy films. Or as background music in a cocktail party.
Their debut 'The Mating Game' was released in April 2006 by Quango. Try one or two of the first tracks and if you dig them, just grab the rest. They're all guilt-free.

The Mating Game
Dirty Laundry
Bittersweet Faith
Don't Forget To Breathe
(The Mating Game, 2006)

Buy at eMusic/ or Amazon

Earlier this August, they released a remix album called 'The Remix Game', with the help from Thievery Corporation, Skeewiff, along with other dance producers. Some of the reworks are quite interesting, but none of them outsmarted the original, overall an okay play-by-numbers stopgap album. Here are some remixes for you to decide yourself.

The Mating Game (Yes King Remix)
Salty Air (Fort Knox Five Remix)
Moving Forward (Atjazz Remix)
(The Remix Game, 2007)

Buy at Napster

Bitter:sweet's MySpace


Toy is a Norway-based duo that makes playful, whimsical instrumental electronica. They use toy instruments and household item sound effects to create a childlike, cheery surroundings that ought to make you feel all jolly inside. Even the titles sound like those of colorful pop-up books. Fun bedroom music for both adults and children, or that child still hidden in you.
Their self-titled debut was released in 2006 on Smalltown Supersound. Check out two tracks below.

Toy - Rabbits Pushing Mower
Toy - Golden Fish In Pool
(Toy, 2006)

Myspace/Buy it at Amazon

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Midnight Mix: Night Flight

A themed mix, designed for those in-flight time you spend looking out of the window plane. Put these tunes on your headphones, relax, and let them put your mind at ease. Here we have an otherworldly, gorgeous hymn from Goldfrapp, one of the best tracks of her entire career, a short, soothing groove from David Snell, a tune from French shoegaze masters M83, The Books' sample-laden track, and the title track from German Ulrich Schnauss' latest offering. Enjoy.

Goldfrapp - Pilots
(Felt Mountain, 2001)
David Snell - International Flight
(Thievery Corporarion's The Outernational Sound, 2004)
M83 - I Guess I'm Floating
(Before The Dawn Heals Us, 2005)
The Books - Tokyo
(The Lemon Of Pink, 2003)
Ulrich Schnauss - Stars
(Goodbye, 2007)

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Hooverphonic's a renowned Belgian electronic outfit whose music I only discovered earlier this year. They were part of the '90s trip-hop scene, right up there with the likes of Massive Attack, UNKLE, Tricky... I have only listened to two of their albums, 'Blue Wonder Power Milk' and 'The Magnificent Tree', and on each of those two is a totally outstanding song that overshadowed the rest, though there are indeed other fine moments. 'This Strange Effect' is a classic of its genre. So grandeur and hypnotic it is that I can't believe that nobody has put up a video of Buffy and Angel slow dancing seductively to this tune on YouTube yet. 'Mad About You' is another mindblowing number, with dramatic strings arrangement and emotionally captivating vocals.
As I was googling them for catching up, I was surprised to find out that the band is still active and a new album, tentatively-titled "The President of the LSD Golf Club", will be out in Benelux in October 8, and the rest of the world in early 2008. Lead single 'Expedition Impossible' already got a video shot (which you can watch here), and based on first listen, they seem to aim for an edgier, live sound. Yes, the single's quite good, and now I'm definitely looking out for the full release this fall. It's just nice music like this is still being made. Be sure to also check out their excellent cover of Depeche Mode's 'Shake The Disease'. All 3 highly recommended.

Hooverphonic - This Strange Effect
(Blue Wonder Power Milk, 1998)
Hooverphonic - Mad About You
(The Magnificent Tree, 2000)
Hooverphonic - Shake The Disease
(For The Masses: Music: Depeche Mode (Tribute), 1998)

Their MySpace/Official Site

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I never learnt how to make a proper first post. Never really did. I couldn't even choose the right picture, so I just doodled something for 10 seconds and uploaded it here (as I can see now, it looked quite craptacular).
I don't know what to say either. Maybe something about why I start this, when I've already got another to handle, I suppose.
Well, here it goes. Over the last two years, I've been exposed to a whole new horizon of music, one that was previously unknown to me. As I go on, more and more keeps finding its way into my overworking ears, and soon I got caught up in left-field genres, in obscure records, in abstract melodies. So I started digging up cds from the past that I missed, looking out for the new ones and eventually making a few posts. Then I found out that my newfound obsession with this genre does not really belong to the vibe of the blog. It just needs a place of its own. So I decided to wait until my birthday, which is today, September 15, to premiere it and start posting what I want. It took me a lot of time considering the names and finally, I settled down with this one, The Bamboo Orchestra, which I find totally fitting for the blog. I wish I could say there is a profound meaning/interesting story behind the name, but there's just not.
If you like electronic/instrumental/post-rock/ambient..., willing to explore new experimental sounds and somehow suffer insomnia, then the blog is for you. If you like to visit Zeon's Music Blog in daytime, then this one is for late nights. It's all kinda hard to explain now, because it's 2 in the morning here, but as posts surface, you will get the idea. For now, what's a better way to cut the blue ribbon than with an excellent, appropriately-titled song from toytronica makers Psapp? Enjoy. More to come tomorrow.

Psapp - Hi (The Only Thing I Wanted, Domino, 2006)