Sound Bytes : Placement, Silent Media, J.R. Plankton, Tobias Lilja

Collected Locations
The Lime Green Yellow Recording Company

An English art-pop group Curtains has released music under a few names – the experimental and ambient-dub side of it records under the name Net, while the ‘locational ambient’ and ‘landscape music’ falls under the Placement moniker. Recorded during 2008-2010, the collection of “rarities, one offs and compilation tracks” culminated into a release of this particular album. Consisting of nine pieces, Collected Locations documents events, places and spaces with captured conversations, gathered field recordings, and plucked out announcements. Layered with gently evolving ambiance, the sketches turn into carefully produced sound postcards, archiving moments of time into timeless mementos. This is indeed landscape music painted with spring watercolors and lightly blended with aged brushes. A limited edition of this album comes in a gorgeous American oak veneer sleeve.

Coupling: Dedicated to the Man and
based on the Work of Stan Brakhage
Silent Media

Packaged in a seven inch cardboard sleeve, the first release from Silent Media is a collection of audio and visual art projects dedicated to an experimental filmmaker, Stan Brakghage. Appropriately titled Coupling, the project features abstract sound art, bleepy circuitry, and experimental sonic installations from a selection of musicians around the world. This carefully designed “artifact” also comes with a small booklet of video stills, photography, digital collages, and other mixed media compositions from artists inspired by the filmmaker’s work. The music on the compilation is at times challenging and acute, demanding the listener to break through the barriers of every day sounds and pay close attention to the aesthetics of field recordings, avant-garde and musique concrète. Excellent entry for the believers in the art of making art, and the church of the creative process.

Karaoke Kalk

On the latest release from Karaoke Kalk, Berlin-based collaborative project, J.R. Plankton, incorporates synth arpeggios, electro rhythms, and atmospheric textures to dispel the dust left on the albums of early electronic pioneers, like Jean Michel JarreTangerine Dream, and of course, Germany’s own Kraftwerk. J.R. Plankton is a collaboration between M=minimal label head Jens Strüver and Robert Ohm. The album explores synthetic lands, genre boundaries, and trance-inducing states. Here you have warm analog pads, pulsating bass, and even a French-accented vocoded line “Musique Electronique”, packaged in a tight release, over five ten-minute-mark tracks, like a sonic time machine. Check out more releases by Strüver on his own label, as well as a lauded album by Conrad Schnitzler, titled Zug.

Tobias Lilja
Delirium Portraits

Tobias Lilja’s third full length album (second on n5MD) is pretty fascinating. Titled Delirium Portraits, the style reminds me of a mix between Trentemøller and Tim Exile – the melodies on the ten tracks follow an unpredictable trajectory, while the lyrics appear to be an abstract non-rhyming narrative, perhaps of a delirium with a twist of dark humor in the style of Cursor Miner, punctuated by tight electro rhythm and quality produced electronica. At first the seemingly absurd story behind the songs makes you raise your eyebrows, but by the second listen (and the third, and fourth), those wrinkles fade away and you begin to nod your head with the beat. Fans of Thom York‘s dreamy lyrics will appreciate the album. Pick up Lilja’s 2007 Time Is On My Side and his 2004 debut, Ex-Leper on Nonresponse.