Okay, I will admit that ASC is quickly becoming one of those prolific artists who are somehow [annoyingly] really good at everything they touch. And that means that as I hungrily consume every single one of his releases across a wide range of genres [and yes, I love his d’n’b], I am increasingly gratified with every unique sound but also somewhat jealous, and, yes, even a little irked, because now, as I sit here, once again I am declaring ASC for you to follow, and I promise you I have no other motive than to share great music for the soul. So, here we are, with another one of his incredible albums for Past Inside the Present, and this time, it’s an absolute stunner, a little melancholic, a little hopeful in its ways. On Loss, James Clements seems to pour his heart out, not just in music but apparently in words. Titles such as “What More Can Be Said”, “Passing Of Time”, and “Tears In Rain” hint at the gnawing heartache experienced during the loss of a loved one. And this loss may not be terminal or grim – it may have been the time to walk away. “Even in its heavier moments, it is an album that presents an undeniable degree of sensitive and resolute devotion, a priceless honorarium for moments dreamt but never to be.” But if you feel that concepts colour music in a way that makes it strict, I promise you that you’ll enjoy this hour of music without constructs. Fans of ethereal ambience and spatial soundscapes, as well as those who love those other prolific masters of sound, like bvdub36, and zakè, will absolutely love every minute of Loss. And grab it on a cassette, will ya?

Slow Reels

Everyday Exotic

It’s time to visit with my friends Jim and Ian. These two masters of minimal ambience have been at the forefront of the scene for many years now: Jim Murray, with his high-bar setting Slowcraft Records, and Ian Hawgood, with his celebrated Home Normal imprint. The two, together, make the music additive in bliss, exploring the outer edges of leisurely developing synth-based modulations imprinted on a lo-fi magnetic medium, appropriately naming this project as Slow Reels. Where else should their third collaborative release belong if not on the fantastic Quiet Details, which, as Jim tells me over a glass of our favourite peated single malt, is “doing everything just right”? There are moments on this album that remind me of carefully crafted music by Taylor Deupree and the output of his revered 12k label, which should serve both as a nod to this long-overdue sonic blanket and Alex’s year-old imprint that comforts us in the night. “Bringing all their melodic and textural sensibilities, they have created an album that’s full of beautiful and deeply moving moments, always evolving yet giving you enough time to fully immerse yourself in the harmonic wonder and the vast open spaces only artists of their skill and experience can achieve.” On Everyday Exotic, one can quickly lose themselves in an hour of meditative music, perfectly blending organic and synthetic, whether it’s with pensive piano keys, field recordings, or granular-processed sound. Pick this up on a limited edition CD, which includes a long-form continuous edition of the album and a fine art print of the artwork influenced by the music and idea behind this release.

Sylvain Chauveau


Next up is a live recording of Sylvain Chauveau‘s performance at Cafe OTO, London, in March 2022 – “one of Sylvain’s rare solo concerts and the first time he performed publicly with only acoustic instruments; no machines, no recorded sounds, only piano, guitar, harmonium and melodica, played one at the time.” These intimately captured compositions [human breathing, leather shuffling, wood creaking, ceramic clanking and all] appear on the venerated Sonic Pieces imprint, its only 35th catalogue release, as Monique Recknagel continues to curate her beautiful label with a precise aesthetic, attention to every single detail [the physical objects released here are a pleasure to touch, hold and own], and ultimately, love. The concept behind the reductionist approach to Chauveau’s compositions, performance, and the album itself as a cohesive idea [from artwork to track titles] is stripped down even further, with the only variation of repetitive chords, melodies and progressions being the timbre of each acoustic instrument itself. This is something that is usually strived for in synthesized music, as even minor modulations turn perfectly executed arpeggiations into minor variations of themselves. But with acoustic pieces, the recurrent nature of these sonic tonalities is expressed through the human interactions therein, exploring the absorbing nature of the mesmerizing harmonic arrangements, spaciousness between the piano keys, and the outer edges of a trance-inducing drone. Although the album is available as a digital download, as I already mentioned, I recommend that you pick up a physical release as a cloth-wrapped and textured compact disc or a limited edition white vinyl.

Abul Mogard

Live at the Athens Conservatoire

The last, and certainly not least, beautiful piece of music I want to share with you today is this super limited, physical-only cassette release on a London-based Berceuse Heroique imprint, which is… well… regrettably already all sold out. In fact, I can only find it on Boomkat, and my own copy comes from the composer himself. So why would I share this unobtainable music with others? Well, at least it’s to re-assert Guido Zen as the master of slow-burning, harmonically rich, and incredibly textural synthesis that he set out to be with his fictional character appearing on the scene back in 2012 as Abul Mogard, who, after retiring from working in a metal factory in Belgrade, decided to turn towards ambient music composed on self-built modular synthesizers as a way of recreating the industrial sounds that surrounded him for many years. It’s an incredible story, but most importantly, it’s the incredible music that turned many heads. And I can attest to that personally, as I strived to replicate his low-glowing melodies in low-rumbling noise in my very own compositions. In this live performance, recorded at the oldest educational institution for the performing arts in modern Greece, Zen brings some of his previously familiar pieces back from the shadows into a seamless, continuous, and gorgeous journey, which only live performances express. A couple of weeks ago, Rafael Anton Irisarri announced an upcoming collaboration with Abul Mogard, titled Impossibly distant, impossibly close, scheduled to be released on his own Black Knoll Editions on April 26, 2024. I will be premiering an excerpt from one of its long-playing tracks a few days before its release date on Headphone Commute, so do keep your ears and eyes pretty open, and I’ll see you then!