Monday, January 01, 2018

My Top Albums 2017

Last year was a again a good year in music and I have listened a lot of music. Thanks to a bluetooth connection between my smartphone and my car hi-fi I can finally even scrobble my listens while driving my car. I also needed to find a good combination of Android apps to allow this scrobbling. I tried several this year from Phonograph to foobar2000 before settling on MediaMonkey with the Simple Last.fm Scrobbler in the background.

Top 10 Albums of 2017

I use Last.fm which despite its shortcomings is still my choice. One of its weaknesses are the lack of unambiguous identification of homonymous entities, especially artists. The other one is that the number of tracks counts independent of track length. It will thus put an advantage to short tracks over long tracks. So one may listen to an album of ten three-minute songs followed by an album featuring one single track running a full hour: despite the much shorter run time of the first album (half an hour instead of one hour), it will top the second album in every count as most listened artist and most listened album.

But despite this systematic error I’ll use Last.fm to give you my top ten albums of 2017.


  1. Divergent

    by Pandora’s Black Book



    Originally released in 2012 on Raumklang Music, James Church’s industrial IDM kinda slipped into my top ten list, almost unnoticed.
  2. Oil, Steel & Rhythm

    by Komor Kommando



    Sebastian Komor was quite ubiquitous in 2000s industrial music with Komor Kommando being his only project bearing his name. Originally released in 2001 on Alfa Matrix.
  3. 3-D The Catalogue

    by Kraftwerk



    Technically 3D The Catalogue is a live album but the complete lack of any live sound makes this eight-CD collection rather a remix album.
  4. 8:58

    by 8:58



    Paul Hartnoll of Orbital fame released his second solo album under the moniker 8:58. The Deluxe Edition features the whole album in instrumental glory which I definitely prefer.
  5. Born in Ruins

    by Blac Kolor

    Released in 2016 on Basic Unit Productions, Hendrick Grothe crafts wonderful industrial IDM. Also available here.
  6. New World March

    by Haujobb



    Haujobb, whose label brought us Born in Ruins, also appear on this list with their 2011 album.
  7. RR7349

    by S U R V I V E



    Among the discoveries that I have made when finding the label Relapse Records thanks to Zombi was S U R V I V E. Deeply steeped in 1980s music, two of its members later became famous in their own right when they created the music to a popular Netflix series.
  8. Blade Runner 2049

    by Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch



    Proclaiming that the music isn’t as good as the original by Vangelis is an easy thing to say but doesn’t do the music justice. Of course it is more than just a bit reminiscent but after all that was the aim. The big disadvanted of the vinyl is of course that it is difficult to leave out those tracks by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley as they disrupt the atmospheric flow of the music.
  9. Mayhem

    by Steve Moore



    Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra of the band Zombi have easily become two of my favorite artists during the last year. Mayhem is the latest solo outing of Steve Moore.
  10. Stranger Things, Vol. 1

    by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein



    Stranger Things was enormously big last year on Netflix and it part also thanks to its music. While the music is perfect for the series and thus incited me to listen to it upon purchasing the album, as stand-alone music it falls a bit flat.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Gliese 614 « Saturn »

Gliese 614 is an ambient/drone/industrial electronica project. Unfortunately I couldn’t find out that much about it except that s/he also uses the name Dronespace on occasion, seems to be based in the UK and (maybe) likes pidgeon breeding.
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  1. Dione 2:19
  2. Iapetus 10:18
  3. Rhea 9:47
  4. Titan 9:30
Saturn was released on 30th of August 2010 via the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license though it was originally recorded in early 2005.

Saturn are 32 minutes of Berlin School-influenced sequencer music. Despite (or maybe because of) being somewhat repetitive in nature I find its sound flow engaging and utterly fascinating.

I’d like to say ‘Mr. Gliese, please more of the same’ (or Mrs., for all I know) but it seems Gliese 614 stopped transmitting in 2011. If anyone has any information on Gliese 614 or suggestions for alike-sounding music, please contact me!
Direct download of the original version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD
Creative Commons License
Saturn by Gliese 614 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://archive.org/details/Saturn_733.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mosaik « Apologies »

Mosaik is the ambient electronica project of Jakob Svanholm. Jakob was especially active in the first half of the first decade of this new century but has slowed his release schedule a bit.
Apologies was his second release for the Kahvi Collective.
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Apologies was originally released on 13th of February 2007 by the Kahvi Collective on their webpage where everything has been published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives license. On the 1st of September the Kahvi Collective re-released the EP via their netlabel collection on the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license. Both releases were in lossy MP3 and OggVorbis.

Jakob issued eventually (in September 2009) a lossless release via his Bandcamp page under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Apologies are 35 minutes of ambient IDM.
  • Free streaming and download in WAV, FLAC, MP3 or OggVorbis from the Internet Archive CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Direct download of the FLAC version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD
Creative Commons License
Apologies by Mosaik is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://mosaik.se/album/apologies.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Obsidian Shell « Angelic Asylum »

I have presented you so far mostly with electronic music of ambient or psychedelic varieties, only once with a bit of swing metal. So here comes some gothic metal.

Obsidian Shell was created out of the ashes of Hungarian gothic metal band Restart which split after one five-track demo in 2006. Restart’s vocalist, bassist and guitarist formed Obsidian Shell (sans drummer and keyboarder) and released their first album 2009.
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Angelic Asylum was published on 3rd of October 2010 via Jamendo.

Gothic metal with female vocals seems to have been quite popular and probably still is - I just did not found most of it convincing. My interest rather lies with progressive and technical death metal or - as might be expected - crossover with various electronic styles. Gothic just doesn’t fit my bill and frankly sounds quite a lot like a caricature.

Now, Obsidian Shell is classified gothic but except for the fact that it is sung by a woman I just don’t see it much. It has some electro metal and otherwise a drum set and guitar playing that I would place with industrial extreme metal but is neither. Mostly engaging and appealing. The lyrics appear to be rather of a gothic nature though…
Direct download of the OggVorbis version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD

Creative Commons License
Angelic Asylum by Obsidian Shell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.jamendo.com/album/76571.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Sky Effect « Freedom Eye »

Sky Effect is still a relatively new project of psychedelic electronica created by Ukrainian musician Viktor Korchinsky.
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Freedom Eye was published on 14th of November 2013 via Jamendo and is ongoing proof that indeed new music to discover is out there. Downtempo music with ambient and psychotronic sound with lots of great ideas that I wish Viktor would have released in lossless FLAC. It would make a great release for Ektoplazm.
  • Free streaming and download in MP3 or OggVorbis from Jamendo CC BY-NC 3.0
  • Free streaming and download in WAV, FLAC, MP3 or OggVorbis from the Internet Archive CC BY-NC 4.0


    In this player each track is featured twice.
Direct download of the OggVorbis version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD

Creative Commons License
Freedom Eye by Sky Effect is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.jamendo.com/list/a128626.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

EugeneKha « Tribute to Russian Space »

EugeneKha is the alias of Evgenij Haritonov (alternatively transliterated as Yevgeny Kharitonov or - in a yet another, almost ridiculous fashion - as EBrEHNÑ XapNTOHOB), a writer, poet, musician and multimedia artist from Moscow.
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Tribute to Russian Space was recorded live on 5th of October 2011 at the art club Shokoladnaya Fabrika and released six days later on the 11th by Evgenij’s own label Echoes Sounds.

The original release was composed of one single file. This is a reissue with four individual track files. His Tribute to Russian Space is space ambient (as it should have been) with some uplifting elements and a notch of Berlin school-style electronics.
Direct download of the FLAC version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD

Creative Commons License
Tribute to Russian Space by EugeneKha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://archive.org/details/Eugenekha-TributeToRussianSpaceliveAtShokoladnayaFabrika2011-10-05.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Ender « Emergence »

Ender comes from the mind of Jesse Sugden from Australia. Downtempo with powerful beats and a nice psychedelic touch.
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Emergence was released on 12th of November 2014 via NJOI Muic’s Bandcamp page.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable EP of downtempo music with nicely done varied beats and a hint of psy influence. The biggest downside is the fact that it’s over after just half of an hour. While it was released by NJOI via Ektoplazm a mere nine days later under a Creative Commons license, you may want to support the artist by buying it on the label’s Bandcamp page.
  • Free streaming and download in WAV, FLAC or MP3 from Ektoplazm CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
  • Free streaming and download in WAV, FLAC, MP3 or OggVorbis from the Internet Archive CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Direct download of the FLAC version of the complete album from the Internet Archive:
DOWNLOAD

Creative Commons License
Emergence by Ender is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.ektoplazm.com/free-music/ender-emergence.