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