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BEATTOPIA

by William Hancock.

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yoga

Jamie Catto and The Happening – As Deep As We Can Go Without Drowning.

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“Homage To The Goddess Proves Spontanteity Is The Key To Joy”.

Now here’s an interesting one. Jamie Catto from Faithless. Yep the dance act with Rollo and Sister Bliss. He teams up with Duncan Bridgeman again. The guy who he did The 1 Giant Leap series with. They knock out a chillout album and release it through Sydney-based downtempo label, One World Music. Literally knock it together. Three days. A bunch of famous dudes. A few non-famous and one big-ass jam at his mate, Dave Stewart’s old church-studio (the same place they did one of Dido’s albums at). And it sticks.

Catto explains “The Happening was a tithe or a thank-you gift to the Goddess of Music for letting me make a living from music in which I invited all my favorite diverse artists.” And so he did. The Faithless rhythm section rolled up. The keyboardist from Oasis. The singer from the Sneaker Pimps. the scratch DJ from Beck, the singer from the Hothouse Flowers. Then Maxi Jazz rolls in with Pauline Taylor, the voice from their epic track Don’t Leave and things begin to take shape.

There’s a distinctive world music flavour on the album, obviously originating from Jamie and Duncans work on the two movies and their associated soundtracks. Reggae and dub influences are also present. Intelligently produced, beautifully mastered and collaborated upon in a way I’m sure the goddess of Music would be proud of. The little duet at the start of Chances Are is a highlight with the digital and analogue world colliding with an African xylophone and scratch dj riff that is as delicate as it is massive. Some wise and deep words spoken from a number of different voices, downtempo goodness that washes from delicate and spacious to railroad-trucking style beats infused with a variety of different classic and modern instruments. Sitar, Duduk and clarinet sit alongside standard band setups and digital programming to create a fusion of sound-quality and a depth of music that is still rare today. To have this created in three days is mind-blowing on one hand and yet makes complete sense in the other. There are some productions that can only be successful if done on the fly. If this had been written prior to recording it most likely would never have happened (pardon the deliberate pun).

The album is chilled, textured, deep and intelligent carrying messages and wisdom within the music as well as aesthetic composition. It’s a wonder it hasn’t been more widely exhalted. But perhaps that’s the humility of the work that lives in the balance with its greatness.

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Matt Coldrick – Music for a Busy Head, Vol. 1. 

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“Hard-dance Goes Soft with Deep Ambient Re-release”.

Matt Coldrick has a colourful past, having been part of a popular psychedelic trance act ‘Green Nuns of the Revolution‘ with Dick Trevor and Neil Cowley. This unit was formed in 1994 and still performs in various forms today. Coldrick has also released music under the moniker ‘Pan Electric‘, at one stage collaborating with the ambient heavy-weight producer Ishq.

After developing an interest in vibrational healing and sound therapies, Coldrick produced Music for a Busy Head, Volume 1. Seven tracks written to correspond with the seven chakras of the human body or etherically,  the seven colours of the visible light spectrum. “It helps me get to sleep” he states.

Designed for deep relaxation, all of tracks sit below 65 beats per minute with each written in a key that corresponds to the vibration of an energy centre within the human body. Listening to the album from start to finish will assist one in entering a semi-conscious state, where the bodies natural repair systems can kick in for some deep self healing. Through changes in the timbre, volume, note, resonance and key of the tracks, Coldrick carries us into the realms of deep-ambient sound healing.

First released in 2001 on the Absolute Ambient record label, the album has been unavailable for several years. The present re-release is under the  Pink Lizard Music banner.

Deeply relaxing, well composed and highly produced this meditation masterpiece is a must in any spiritual warriors quiver.

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.

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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