SEHT - Application Antarctica Download Form

MICHEL BANABILA - Hilarious Expedition
[Tapu Records,]

[Acid Fake,]

Ambient music comes in many different shapes and forms. New Zealander's Seht's [aka Stephen Clover] foray into the spectrum 'Application Antarctica Download Form' is a calming experience. It doesn't matter how this record was made or what instrumentation was used [or not used for that matter]. What counts is the final effect. Drones are very much present in every single bit of the 50 minute recording. Thick pulsating drones turn into delicate little hums that then in turn become even more faint. Atmosphere throughout is very luscious. Though the humming is rather delicate, after a few minutes, intensity in your ears grows to such proportions; you start to hear things that aren't really there. I think they call that an audio illusion or something of the sort. It's amazing to listen to these audio forms and follow their paths on their lonely journey towards their ultimate grave. Even when lazy beats arrive on 'Phone Order', the mood is very still and unchanging. Then we come to the name of the record. I wonder if Antarctica is as chilly as these wondrous drones. There is a certain set of music that I listen to when falling asleep. With ease, I'm adding this record to that collection. Dreams were made for this release.

Michel Banabila's 'Hilarious Expedition' is a partial failure of sorts. On one level, it acts as a soundtrack to films ['Mamma Please Call Me' and 'Never Let Go'] and theatre productions ['Eiland', 'Beam Me Up', 'W3' and 'De stem van Tamar'] but on the other hand it tries to be an ambient record all in one go. As they say, you can't have your cake and eat it too [well, very few actually eat their cakes!]. The theatre and film soundtracks are too broken up and too all-over-the-place to make for an enjoyable listen. Various voices [in all imaginable languages] are interspersed with minimal instrumentation [tons of samplers, violin, bass, cello, ud, flute, guitar, trumpet, etc.]. Simply put, the pieces are too broken up to make any sense or reason without the particular visuals for which they were written. The second disc in the 'Hilarious Expedition' set is a more coherent piece of work. It looks like here Banabila really took the ambient mission to heart and actually produced a very satisfying piece of work. Light beats, heavy samples and occasional voices are thrown into the mix and make up a delicious stew for the mind, as it takes a well deserved rest. While my mind is split on the release, I'd still recommend the second disc for fans of the ambient genre.

Coming from the mysterious Macedonian Acid Fake label, we get the 'Acid Takes' CD-R release. Normal Music is a trio made up of Rafael ' guitars and beatmaster of the group, Thomas ' field recordings and rumbles and Jeff on drones, autoharp and tapes. This is organic music with glitches, bleeps and bits thrown in for good measure. At times the music appears to sound like a field recording of a lonely beach, while at others, it resembles a quiet assembly line of drilling machines that lightly press looped sounds into your mind. Scratchy records, synths galore, samplers and other tools take this production to higher levels. We can only hope Normal Music's next release is as satisfying as this one.

Tom Sekowski

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>> Seht - Application Antarctica Download Form; Michel Banabila - Hilarious Expedition; Normal Music - Acid Takes