Welcome to our newly redesigned Sound Bytes column! Today we feature four thematic releases following a trajectory of sound and words through ambiance, minimalism, and drone. In this particular installment we went to focus your attention on a few fantastic labels – Slow Flow, Twice Removed, and Unfathomless.

Into The Fall
Slow Flow

Slow Flow is a small independent label from Sapporo, Japan run by Ryo Nakata, with releases on various labels, such as Experimedia, Smallfish and hibernate under his Ryonkt moniker. The label has been steadily releasing limited edition CDrs from experimental and ambient artists. Such is the album by Segue, previously appearing on Autoplate, Tokyo Droning and U-Cover. For his third full length release, Into The Fall, Vancouver based Jordan Sauer creates soundscapes with field recordings, acoustic guitars, violin, piano, glockenspiel, melodica, and minimal manipulation. The album was recorded during a transitional period in Sauer’s life, and the contemplative nature of sound reflects Jordan’s state of mind. “For me, music is a form of meditation, of reflection on what was and will be.” This is a beautiful piece that will assist you in your personal insight…

Stanze Di Te
Slow Flow

Welcome to the music of Misound. Sparkling piano, stretched and reversed vocals, reverb drenched ambient pads – all are the required elements of atmospheric textural music, but somehow in the hands of Marco Lavarone, an Italian sound engineer, designer and composer, it all falls into place. His album on Slow Flow (covered in more detail on your left), is a collection of sound vignettes featuring a balanced blend between electro-acoustic, organic and synthetic sounds, all sprinkled with micro triggered glitch, Max/MSP and rolling waves of sonic treatments. Stanze Di Te is an environmental sound poem, a granular soundscape, and a monochrome filter over reality’s deafening buzz. We’re extremely thankful to Ryo Nakata for introducing Misound to our ears! Check out Lavarone’s appearance on Emilii Records‘s My First Compilation.

Twice Removed

If you’ve been following this Sound Bytes entry you’ll recognize the path of gravitation towards the latest release from Slow Flow curator, Ryo Nakata. This time, releasing on a Western Australian micro-label, Twice Removed, Ryonkt produces six consecutively titled tracks for his fifth full length album, Troposphere. Instead of ambient swells lightly peppered with field recordings, Nakata slaps resonant guitar drones vibrating at mid frequencies and sharp colorized textures. The sound seems to penetrate my walls like a cry from a bagpipe, striking all harmonics and partials in one shot, painting a solid block in my spectrum analyzer. At one point Troposphere almost approaches a noise territory, as each track expands on its dynamics, amplitude and depth. Listening at high volumes may produce that sun gazing effect: at first you are blinded, until you adjust. A rewarding experience if you stay invested in peeling back the layers…

Simon Whetham
Mall Muzak

Before I sign off on this column I want to introduce you to another label which will surely appear on these pages again. Unfathomless concentrates on “phonographies reflecting the spirit of a specific place crowded with memories, its aura & resonances and our intimate interaction with it.” The seventh catalog entry in this thematic series comes from Simon Whetham, a prolific sonic curator with more than a dozen experimental releases in just the last few years. On his contribution to the project, Whitham records minimal drones and tones uncovered through exploring the abandoned feeling of a shopping center in Bristol. This is a very quiet piece, humming along with the white noise of air coniditioners, distant escalators and absent consumers. A ghostly echo of the days when money exchanged hands, Mall Muzak captures the silence of closed stores, missing shoppers, and everlasting void…