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BEATTOPIA

by William Hancock.

Category

dinner parties

Landscapes

A series of examples of photographic composition, framework and colour contrast of landscape photography. I especially enjoy the sunset shots due to the colour and textural effects of the light on the landscape and the changing nature of the shoot. Very dynamic.

IMG_2097 IMG_1268 IMG_1075 IMG_0709 IMG_0482 IMG_0389 This shot is a moonrise.IMG_0181IMG_0171 IMG_0166 IMG_0039

IMG_0035IMG_1879IMG_1646IMG_1900IMG_1867IMG_0772IMG_0796IMG_1646IMG_1880IMG_2117IMG_2419IMG_2424IMG_2457

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Zen Connection 3 – One World Music.

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“Old Classic Deserves Recognition for Ageing Timelessly”.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. Zen Connection 3. Part three of a four part series compiled by DJ Leigh Wood of Sydney based One World Music. Classic Downtempo Electronica. Released in late 2004, this little gem sports two discs of the good stuff. The name celebrates and reflects Sunyata, the state defined in Mahayana Buddhism as the emptiness associated with skilfully disentangling oneself from the unsatisfactoriness of life. It means potentiality. The present is pregnant with potential. Through untangling ourselves we allow this potentiality to arise. Listening to this little beauty seems to be a step along the path towards this place or more accurately, state-of-mind.

The discs are aptly titled Left Turn and Right Turn. Disc one (Left) meanders through a journey of top downbeat artists that include The Christophe Goze Project, Nitin Sawhney and Jon Hopkins, finishing with a beautiful rendition of a Hindu Spiritual classic Ganapati Om by Donna De Lory (Eastern Sun Remix).

Turning Right leads us into tracks from Kaya Project, Prem Joshua (Mangalam sits in an 80 bpm groove superbly), Ott and the Banzai Republic featuring Natacha Atlas before finishing where we started with a reprise of Devotion No.1 by the Loop Guru.

Where the first disc tends to relax and unwind, the general tempo of the second is noticeably quicker. Perfect for relaxing or entertaining, the double disc seems almost perfectly designed for afternoon drinks leading into a quiet dinner party. The first disc for the drinks and the second for the cooking.

The decidedly obvious spin of World Music on the publication is a real asset. With instrumental sounds from across the globe and producers located across the planet this album is not only the middle path of downtempo but brings into balance the duality that is east and west, unifying it in a very enjoyable way.

The sign of any great album is timelessness. Still listening to it years later. Still enjoying. Still available. Still here.

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.

Buddha Bar – Hotel Paris. by Dj Ravin.

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“New Release Gives Strength to Good Old Times”.

Buddha Bar – Hotel Paris opened in June 2013 on the Right Bank in the heart of Saint- Honore. Rooms with all the mod. cons from 323.00 Euro a night come complete with a complimentary Buddha Bar compilation. The most recent album in this series was released in November 2014 and compiled by DJ Ravin.

Ravin met Claude Challe, the founder and owner of the Buddha Bar at a club called The Rex in Paris while djing at a party for Wiz Bombino. The two ended up collaborating on a few singles and after Ravin became house DJ at The Buddha Bar, they began to put together mix-tapes that reflected the sets Ravin was playing at that time. Since then he’s produced over 10 albums for the series, two solo albums and a couple of experimentally-eclectic, themed compilations.

This album has been great to listen to. Many repetitions and it still doesn’t seem to be getting tiring. The track list is nicely done, reflecting several different styles. The progression moves smoothly and unpredictably, creating a texture in the order that is refreshing. The mixes themselves are deft, yet not over the top. Just enough to make the album flow.

It starts strongly with the impeccable Gandhara by Amanaska from their recently released album, Escape. Chilled, regal and of a quality that is still hard to find even in this now saturated downbeat electronica environment.

Woman of the Ghetto (Akshin Alizadeh Remix) by Marlena Shaw is a nugget of gold. Every once in a while tracks like these pop their head up. Rare form and a welcome surprise this funky little number grooves itself away, set off by catchy sax and guitar riffs. Contrast these with a melodious little sprite of a happy little tone oscillating its way through a solid-yet-subtle, percussive, funk-infused groove. The guitar riff complements the sax perfectly as samples of Mistress Marlena drop in and out. Keys. All out. So freaking good.

Matham Dub by Thor. Exquisite. Deep dubby synth stabs over a slower epically composed percussion section. Middle eastern chants and strings floating gives a goose-pimple experience.

Sunshine featuring Matthias Wittmann (Thomas Atzmann Remix) is pretty smooth. Nice housey beat with layers of deep rich male vocals. Fairly minimal but tastefully arranged and some notable string sections flowing seamlessly into Herneise by Boral Kibil and Mahmut Orhan. This hauntingly atmospheric, deep, melodic house number sports a stomping kick drum and bass line. Atmospheric synth melodies and soaring string sections backed by percussion beds and a hypnotic synth hook give to a dancefloor with progressive sections that not only highlight the beautiful production but the impeccable composition. Brilliant. Another ripper.

Children of Love by Paji flows right on where Herneise leaves off. While not quite as deep as the one before the composition is remarkably similar and seems to have a string section that could almost have been played by the same artist. Male vocals, a nice travel on the dancefloor accentuated by a skip in the percussion and a slightly reverberating atmospheric.

The Touch (Radio Edit) by Grum. Electro House with flashes of epicness and a meaty midsection give the album a gear change at an appropriate moment.

Lovers Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najariya) by Damien Lazarus & The Ancient Moons is a tribal stomper. The native tongues fly over the top of a subtle tech-house beat. Deep grinding synth stabs contrast the world music beautifully with the hard edge of electronica. Travels well, nice rich sound, good composition.

Fall Underneath (Kilter Remix) by Snakadaktal gives us that great, up and coming indy-dance sound we’ve come to know from radio stations like the ABC’s Triple J.

A jazzy little remix of The Cure’s Tainted Love by Poncho Warwick called Tainted Jazz bops along, lounge stylee.

There’s some great racks on this album, and a few duds but no biggies. The second is a real downer. Depressing but still of a brilliant production standard. The fifth song is an eclectic choice by Ravin and doesn’t really seem to fit the playlist, but perhaps that’s sort of refreshing.

Overall the album doesn’t seem to tire when on repeat, is danceable or can be relaxed to on a low volume. The tracks are generally well picked and mixed, and the songs themselves (even the off ones) seem to be right on the money for the album’s construction as a whole.

Just what the doctor ordered. A pleasure and definitely worth a look.

Waypoint by Interchill.

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“Coming of Age Chill-out Label Makes for 21 Strong Compilation”.

A very interesting compilation as far as downtempo electronica goes. Put together by Andrew Ross Collins this Interchill album is the 21st ‘various artist’ release from the Canadian based label.

The track selection textures contrast nicely together with a wide perspective of chillout. Nothing too different to keep them all flowing along the same line. Nothing too similar to bore the listener into a complacent sense of the norm’. Strong downtempo with electro-style inflections and an infusion of jazz-styling instruments and arrangements make for a delightful journey without even moving off the couch.

Hibernation pulls out a remix of Grouch’s ‘Indifference’ with a d-and-b/reggae edge, smatterings of psychedelic-electro and indigenous Australian percussive punctuations. Frederick Ohr and the boppy, almost waltz-laden introduction of ‘In Orbit’ lulls us into a childhood mindset before dropping through progressions of Asian-influenced strings and into a psychedelic bed of solid but not uncomfortable beats. ‘alucidnation’ makes an appearance with ambient synths and spacious strings over atmospherics in Prefer to Stay In. Kaya Project puts in an appearance with ‘Dust Devil’ (Hibernation Remix) dropping acoustic double-bass contrasted with dub-step-like punctuation. The jazz infusion for the album doesn’t stop there. Another Fine Day’s ‘Walk Tall (Throwback Dub)’ riffs jazz-laden keys over a bed of beats and bass. Varient Field’s ‘Dulcet Dalliance’ shows a crisp and lively stream of production with summer time melodies and samples leaving a fresh aftertaste. Yum.

Wrapped up in some great visual detail from Shichigoro-Shingo, drawing inspiration from Japanese Manga illustrations into a blend of bio-mech composition, the album is indicative of the quality we have come to expect from the label. The digipak cd is distributed through Arabesque and available at www.interchill.bandcamp.com.

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