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BEATTOPIA

by William Hancock.

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andrew ross collins

Sunmonx – In The Trees

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“Neo Funk and Soul Duo Find Balance in the Melody”.

Following the success of their debut album Power Salad, international glitch-hop extrordinaire Opiuo and downbeat guitar maestro Austero have teamed up again as Sunmonx to let another one fly with a short, sweet EP titled In The Trees.

After headlining slots and running entire shows in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand the two obviously decided to use their downtime wisely. The result is a catchy 20 mins of funky, glitched out electronica from Oscar, blended with a soulful guitar-sound from Albino. The tasteful balance of the hard-edged funky glitched-out electronica and sweet, well-arranged guitar riffs are no more prevalent than in the Rotney Stem Cell. The track almost smacks of a chance integration between the two that has since paved the way for a deeper musical connection. Wether the two are trading riffs one-on-one, or harmonising together with melodic interaction, it’s the last track that shows us a window into the world of what may be on the way. Run is just under two minutes of magic. With an introduction from Austero, Opiuo’s electronic element tempers nicely to bring the two into a unison greater than the sum of its parts. In the trees hits the dub-reggae vibe both are at home with.

The Sunmonx team are both successful producers in their own right. Austero’s remix of Sufi Dub for Monkey Mark was the most downloaded track from Addictech.com in 2014, and Opiuo took best electronica album at the New Zealand Music Awards for Meraki the same year.

With some stunning cover art by Jewels Stephens, the record is available through Interchill.

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Another Fine Day – A Good Place To Be.

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“Another Cult-Classic From Solo Downtempo Producer Finds It’s Place”.

21 years after Another Fine Days’ Tom Green released the ambient-dub, cult-classic Life Before Land, he returns with a fresh basting of ambient-jazz styling in their latest release A Good Place To Be, out now on Interchill.

Fusing natural soundscapes with jazz, percussion and a smattering of instrumental electronica, the ambient and downtempo styles embraced in A Good Place To Be provide the listener with a captivating journey into the realms of natural music and sound. Birds and insects blend with jazz infused keyboards, ambient percussive punctuations, atmospheric synth pads and halting time signatures. Covering a spectrum of musical styles and genres this album doesn’t fit into any narrow slots, with synthetic and natural sounds and music creating a collage of sonic artwork across the board.

Greens’ colourful and varied past is apparent in the composition of this album. Rising from a post-punk outfit in the late seventies, blending with outfits including Baka Beyond, The Orb and Natacha Atlas and writing screen music for the likes of the BBC through his music production company Apollo Music, he contributes regularly to quality music libraries for Universal Music, EMI Production Music and Accorder Music. Tom also dabbles in various unique side projects including an ambient commission released in 2012 called Music For Tai Chi and a composition designed for installation in a new MRI scanner complex at the Royal Infirmary in Bristol, UK; Music For MRI Scanners.

Track 2 on the album A Good Place To Be, called And Dream of Seals blends affected bird calls with melodic keyboards and mallet percussion to create atmospherics that sit delicately over a bed of subtle beats, set back in the mix. Rising to an excited cacophony of oscillators supplying the playful seals in a wash of percussive waters, this downtempo creation is topped by an icing of electronic synthesis.

Enfolded is an ambient piece, wrapping the listener in temperate washes of electronic waves created using progressively arranged atmospheric synth pads, punctuated quietly yet powerfully with almost a hint of angelic brass in the wind.

From Tiny Acorns embraces Eastern-influenced strings and mallets in a percussive melody lifted by a bed of progressive, oscillator-effected beats. Atmospheric pads complete the palette as the track rises to the rhythmically melodic crescendo of a string-infused summit, all while the beats track nicely through the piece.

The influence of World Music on A Good Place To Be should not be overlooked. Subtle yet distinct, the instrument selection and devices used in the composition reflect a global connection transcending cultural boundaries and merging into a cohesively international blend of sound. Greens background producing with the likes of Abdul Tee Jay and his side project Newanderthal clearly influence this albums creation and its Remixes.

Even at these early stages of release, Another Fine Days’ new album A Good Place To Be obviously has the heavyweight staying power to become another cult classic in the lighter and more delicate styles of the ambient and downtempo music genres.

by William S. Hancock.

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