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Fave Five: Rafael Anton Irisarri

As one of the most celebrated ambient composers working today, Rafael Anton Irisarri continues to evolve. We celebrate his metal-tinged new album Peripeteia with a look through the albums that made him.

Evan Sawdey
Recent
Music

Feeding the Machine: Emptyset Take a Bold Sonic Move with 'Blossoms'

Experimental electronic duo Emptyset make unrelenting noise on their latest project, Blossoms.

Music

Blanck Mass' 'Animated Violence Mild' Critiques Excess with Excess

Blanck Mass' Animated Violence Mild drops unrelenting electro-industrial melodies, practicing excess to explore personal grief and the global devastation of consumerism.

Music

'Pale Bloom' Is an Assertion of Sarah Davachi's Stature as a Composer

Sarah Davachi asserts herself as a composer rather than a mere ambient artist on these four ghostly tracks that comprise Pale Bloom.

Music

The Beginning (And Ending) of KiTsuNe – Brian the Fox

An end of a career for one, a change of identity for another, Canterbury legend Robert Wyatt meets Japanese darkwave mirage the Future Eve for a suite of vaporous farewell drones.

Music

Light Conductor Traverse Into the Realm of Minimalism with 'Sequence One'

Light Conductor produce an immersive journey through drone, kosmische musik, and psychedelia with Sequence One.

Music

Markers Challenge the Boundaries of Drone Music on 'Heaven in the Dark Earth'

London duo Markers strike a balance between their love of melody and structure, and the abstract touch of experimental ambient music on Heaven in the Dark Earth.

Music

Black to Comm Returns with an Immersive Ambient Work, 'Seven Horses for Seven Kings'

Sound artist Marc Richter produces a terrifying record in Seven Horses for Seven Kings by implementing elements of dissonance, off-kilter sampling, and intriguing sonic landscapes

Music

Sarah Davachi's 'Gave in Rest' Sounds Like Music That's Been Floating Around for Eons Waiting to Be Bottled

One of ambient's most austere artists, Sarah Davachi, expands her sound, but her music is more mysterious than ever on Gave in Rest.

Music

Tim Hecker Explores the Negative Space with 'Konoyo'

While carrying over many of the practices of his previous record, Tim Hecker shifts his perspective away from the dreamscapes of Love Streams and explores a darker spiritual realm on Konoyo.

Music

Experimental Electronic Producer Automatisme Produces a Work of Sonic Cubism with ' Transit'

On Transit producer William Jourdain a.k.a. Automatisme takes his avant-garde notions to the next level.

Music

A Reminder of Byla's Brilliance and Jarboe's Powerful Presence

Translation Loss unearths the stunning collaboration between three prominent musicians of the extreme experimental scene, which sheds light on one of the previous decade's forgotten gems.

Music

Hior Chronik - "Magnolia" (video)

Greek neo-classical composer Hior Chronik shares his latest gorgeous video for "Magnolia".

Music

Every Scene Fades: An Interview with Ambient Producer Rafael Anton Irisarri

He was one half of the duo behind PopMatters' top pick for Ambient/Instrumental album of 2017, and now Rafael Anton Irisarri is taking ambient music in a surprising direction: one that's intended to remind you of the apocalypse.

Music

Big ‡ Brave: Ardor

The Montreal-based experimental rock outfit Big ‡ Brave presents the next chapter of its sonic evolution, further diving into a realm of abstract compositions and free form drone rock.

Interviews

Low Flying Hawks - "Space Wizard" (video) (premiere) (interview)

Mysterious, Krautrock-influenced sludge merchants team up with acclaimed Mexican film director, members of Melvins for new video.

Music

Loscil: Monument Builders

Monument Builders is a tribute to those who have sought to make grand artistic statements in their medium of choice, and Scott Morgan subverts this concept by adhering to a minimalist script.

Music

All Them Witches: Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

For all its variety, this is a damn fine rock album, plain and simple.

Music

Swans: The Gate

Michael Gira’s lauded experimental rock group returns with an apocalyptic shriek.

Music

Sunn O))) + Phurpa: London - 18 August 2015

This is an uninterrupted, dynamic journey to the purity of sound, to decomposition, rather than its opposite, to the destruction of music in the search of silence

Music

Blanck Mass: Dumb Flesh

Like a shiny penny left submerged in Coca-Cola, the elements of dance music corrode here in Benjamin John Power’s hands.

Reviews

Le Guess Who?: Utrecht - 21 November 2014

Utrecht's experimental music festival takes over the college town for a weekend in November.

Music

Horseback: A Plague of Knowing

Odds-and-sods compilations are a tough proposition, for sure, but if you’re able to crack their code, much like the one surrounding Horseback, you’ll find a wealth of excess, a musical cup overflowing with ideas, vitality, and energy, always on its way towards becoming something else, something greater.

Music

Boris: Präparat

While Boris could be playing in a whole other genre in their future releases, Präparat, a highly limited vinyl-only release, is a concise, well-structured LP that brings a little bit of everything that makes this band great to the table.

Music

Grouper: The Man Who Died in His Boat

Grouper's five-year old collection culls some of her most accessible material ever, just in fragments.

Music

Alex Cobb: Passage to Morning

Lulling and introspective, and with its heart firmly within reach, Alex Cobb's Passage to Morning is an exceptional drone album, albeit one that ends far too soon.

Music

Grouper: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill

Kranky reissue Liz Harris's classic record of beautified drone.

Music

Switchblade: Switchblade (2012)

Switchblade [2012] drips with a syrupy, devilish disposition, and the glacial space between notes plays as strong a role as the thickness of tone -- which, as it happens, is ladled on with staggeringly heavy relish.

Music

Nadja: Dagdrom

Dagdrøm is definitely Nadja's most luminescent album, but it’s not a radical change in direction. Much of it is par for the droning and sludgy course, which is not a bad thing.

Music

High Aura'd: Sanguine Futures

Much like recent releases from Thomas Köner and Locrian/Christoph Heemann, High Aura'd's Sanguine Futures worms it way beneath the skin, luring you in with its bewitching tapestries.

Music

Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin: Instrumental Tourist

Two of the biggest names on the drone scene collaborate for an improvised set of tracks that doesn't quite measure up to the project's great potential.

Music

Thomas Köner: Novaya Zemlya

An apt reflection of the ruinous impact of human beings on our environment, Novaya Zemlya is desolate, but not inhospitable. A tenuous thread of melody lies within, as fragile as nature’s own battle to survive.

Music

Siddhartha: If It Die

While this debut doesn't quite pull off the journey to the center of the mind that was seemingly intended, its open-ended approach to psychedelic rock makes the trip worthwhile.

David Bloom
Music

Sachiko & Fukuoka Rinji: αTOMOΣ

Fifty minutes of pure ambient drone, αTOMOΣ is enough to give you bad dreams, in a good way.

Emma H. Sundstrom
Music

Locrian and Mamiffer: Bless Them That Curse You

Bless Them That Curse You is hypnotic, elegant mastery, and it is all you could ever have hoped for from two such visionary groups.

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