Author Topic: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels  (Read 14101 times)

Austere

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A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« on: December 18, 2009, 09:06:55 PM »
We've agreed, after much debate, that most ambient musick out there in the last 3-4 years has been shite. Some exceptions: Numina, Viridian Sun... why bother, the point is that Hypnos has pretty much become the place to find great stuff from the "lesser known" - Roach & Rich release their own stuff (or Roach's "dark" stuff on Projekt) - and other labels... Hearts of New Age Space? Who else?

So we thank, mostly deeply from our hearts, M & L (esp. L. for the day-to-day) for Hypnos, which we feel in 2009 (as the year closes) has become pretty much the only "ambient" label left that we'd buy stuff from just based on the label name. Haven't felt that way since Sub Pop's hey-day in the early '90s (cripey - that's about 20 years ago!)

That said, if there's still any other labels out there, not including ones just reissuing stuff (Namlook, cough cough, etc.) please do chime in and let us know!

We're trying to get back in the game, but for the real stuff. Likely offensive statement: Rena Jones' newest CD was called "Top Ten" by Echoes - sorry, it's lame, and having seen her live a couple of times, she should just stick to the studio...

No, we want to know the best of this past year and what labels still matter. Please?

Cheers all, and hoppy holidaze!

Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 09:07:31 PM »
Oops, wrong forum, can you move this Mike? Too drunk to figure out how.

ech3

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2009, 10:13:50 PM »
Darla: http://darla.com/ (Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tommorow. great disc)
Data Obscura and Blue Oasis: http://www.dataobscura.com/ (lots of good stuff here)
Hypnos: http://www.hypnos.com/ (of course)
Infraction: http://www.infractionrecords.com/ (Parks "Umber" is a great disc)
Kranky: http://kranky.net/ (Stars of the Lid and Loscil among others)
Lotuspike: http://www.lotuspike.com/
Somnia: http://www.somniasound.com/ (only 9 discs so far)
Spotted Peccary: http://spottedpeccary.com/

Depends what you mean by "ambient".

Other labels I like:

Waveform: http://www.waveformhq.com/
Interchill: http://www.interchill.com/ (not anymore though)
Ultimae: http://www.ultimae.com/
Dakini: http://www.dakinirecords.com/ (although they haven't had a new title in 2 years)

More retro electronic music (and sequencer stuff):

DiN: http://www.din.org.uk/
Ambient Live: http://www.ambientlive.com/ (not very ambient by most definitions)
Manikin: http://manikin.de/en/main.html
Ricochet Dream: http://www.ricochetdream.com/
Groove: http://www.groove.nl/

drone on

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 05:21:12 PM »
Ultimae, DiN, Mystery Sea, Manikin, Infraction, Ambientlive, Faria, Hypnos, Syngate, Nextera, Hic Sunt Leones, Fax would be my picks for the best overall labels releasing fairly consistent good stuff.

Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 12:16:36 AM »
We should have clarified that we've not been listening to much music lately - not ambient, that is. Lots of old edgy Indie Rock, classic rock, neo/avant-folk (Tuung!) and microhouse has been what we've been way into lately. That said, thanks for the replies!

Quote from: ech3
Darla: http://darla.com/ (Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tommorow. great disc)


Darla has been a long time favourite of ours, even if they never finished the 12 CDs, one per month, subscription thing we paid for. Good to know they're still going.

Quote
Data Obscura and Blue Oasis: http://www.dataobscura.com/ (lots of good stuff here)
Infraction: http://www.infractionrecords.com/ (Parks "Umber" is a great disc)


For some reason, these labels never caught our interests, but we'll check them out.

Quote
Kranky: http://kranky.net/ (Stars of the Lid and Loscil among others)


Not really ambient, but a given, plus we're biased as we're good friends w/several artists on the label, and Mr. Kranky is a hero.

Quote
Lotuspike: http://www.lotuspike.com/
Spotted Peccary: http://spottedpeccary.com/
Somnia: http://www.somniasound.com/ (only 9 discs so far)


Excellent!  And thanks for the links, we'll check them out!

Quote
Waveform: http://www.waveformhq.com/
Interchill: http://www.interchill.com/ (not anymore though)


Ah, good, the "not anymore" was a big save for us - we really liked them the first year or two, but they're mostly compilations that might have 1-2 good tracks, but since one of us has been doing a lot of downtempo DJ'ing in the last year, we're trying to sell off most of their stuff. Plus when you meet one of the artists on the label who's an egomaniac prick, who even takes the piss out of the prick we've got, that's just pretty bad.

Now, if you liked Interchill, and like Waveform, we highly recommend the very infrequent releases by PsyBooty, out of the Bay Area. Not a lot of stuff out, but all really great.

Quote
Dakini: http://www.dakinirecords.com/ (although they haven't had a new title in 2 years)


Not true, we know Gio and also Steve "Puff/Double Dragon" Good... "Tribal Matrix" comp. was a 2006 copyright but wasn't available until Feb. 2007, and was pretty good, not great, better than the last "Dakini Nights" but still not up to their former standards. And "Tribal Matrix 2" came out late 2008, but is really... it just sounds like something off of the Real World label - all "world musick" w/little to no electronics. Since we're big Real World fans and own plenty of their releases, it was a huge disappointment. Sadly, Gio has also taken a beating on his last release and the amazing Puff Dragon release - both in pressing too many CDs after the format had died back to vinyl status, and major promotion (where? we don't know, we're just taking his word on it) - anyway, he's not putting much, if any, energy into the label at all. And sadly there will be no more Puff Dragon - Steve sold off all his gear and "got a real job". Sad, really. Can't even get Gio to work out a wholesale deal with one of the labels we work with.

Cheers, A

drone on

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2009, 01:34:14 AM »
Dear Austere--
Although I liked your Hypnos release a lot, and you are entitled to your opinions on music like everyone here, I don't think many here would agree Hypnos is the be-all of ambient right now, not even Mike. ;-)

mgriffin

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 09:22:14 AM »
I don't think many here would agree Hypnos is the be-all of ambient right now, not even Mike. ;-)


This is true, though I read the first Austere post to be less a definitive statement ("there are no good ambient labels but Hypnos") and more a challenge ("it seems this way to us, but let us know what other labels are worth looking at")

Obviously I agree that many of the other labels recommended here are worth listening to, because we sell most of them in our store!  Most of the others have been on my list to contact and see about getting those in the store too.  Some I just haven't gotten around to yet, some give strange answers when asked about wholesale, and a couple (Dakini, Manikin) I don't think we'd be interested in, and somebody really needs to have a talk with Interchiil about that web site.

I would give particularly strong endorsements of Infraction and Dataobscura, specifically.  Also coming on strong lately, Faria and Nextera.

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Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2009, 02:21:48 PM »
Quote from: drone on
Dear Austere-- Although I liked your Hypnos release a lot

Thanks for the kind words! We hope the next one will also be as good or better, while we also contemplate doing something like "Curio" - Coil-like approach, etc.

Quote
I don't think many here would agree Hypnos is the be-all of ambient right now, not even Mike. ;-)

Rightly so - that's why we titled the thread "possibly offending". But Mike's interpretation is spot-on:

Quote
"This is true, though I read the first Austere post to be less a definitive statement ("there are no good ambient labels but Hypnos") and more a challenge ("it seems this way to us, but let us know what other labels are worth looking at")"

This is exactly what we were trying to say but failed (as usual) - that we've kept up with Hypnos and they're a great label, but there must be others out there, and rather than try to discover them, let the experts on the forum help us out my pointing out ones we need to discover!

Thanks for getting the gist, Mike. Neither of us is in any condition to be coherent and this was definitely "drunk posting" - like "drunk dialing".

We look forward this week to checking out many of the recommendations - Dataobscura seems very popular!

Oh, and Mike, Interchill just really sucks. Wouldn't bother with them. Too many egos although there are some Good People as well.  And Dakini, forget about, we worked hard to try to get Gio to do wholesale w/a label, including 60% up-front payment, but he'd had "bad luck with wholesale in the U.S." and has just given up and won't even try. Not to mention it's not really Hypnos Store material.  Fortunately the Makyo CDs are all very wonderful and pretty timeless!

ech3

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2009, 03:51:06 PM »
...
We look forward this week to checking out many of the recommendations - Dataobscura seems very popular!
...
Oh, and Mike, Interchill just really sucks. Wouldn't bother with them. Too many egos although there are some Good People as well.  And Dakini, forget about, we worked hard to try to get Gio to do wholesale w/a label, including 60% up-front payment, but he'd had "bad luck with wholesale in the U.S." and has just given up and won't even try. Not to mention it's not really Hypnos Store material.  Fortunately the Makyo CDs are all very wonderful and pretty timeless!

On the DataObscura/Blue Oasis label be sure to check out Kwook "Skywave".  One of my favorites.

I lost interest in Interchill when it seemed that so much of what they were producing was heavy dub techno stuff.  Not my cup of tea.  But their early releases are still some of my favorites, like Northern Circuits, Magnetic Blue, Interior Horizons and Centripetal by Ekko.

Is Makyo still creating music?  I have 4 of his albums from the Dakini label but haven't heard from him in years.

Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2009, 08:41:43 PM »
On the DataObscura/Blue Oasis label be sure to check out Kwook "Skywave".  One of my favorites.

Will check it!

Quote
I lost interest in Interchill when it seemed that so much of what they were producing was heavy dub techno stuff.

We're on the other side, very into the whole Black Dog / Planet Dog / Black Dog Productions and other Brit electro-dub from the late '80s until about 1992. Still love the stuff. So Interchill did manage to put out a couple of CDs that were similar - so nothing ground-breaking, but at least new stuff since we like dub/techno/electro. But then the quality just went to crap - the last couple of Interchill comps. we bought we liked one track, maybe two at most? The last one we didn't like anything at all.  But that just our tastes, no offense to others'.

Quote
But their early releases are still some of my favorites, like Northern Circuits, Magnetic Blue, Interior Horizons and Centripetal by Ekko.

Yes, great stuff by Ekko.... not sure if Northern Circuits is an Ekko release we missed or a band on Interchill we missed?  Will have to find out, thanks much!


Quote
Is Makyo still creating music?  I have 4 of his albums from the Dakini label but haven't heard from him in years.

So he has the four Makyo CDs, he's half of the can't-think-of-name Brothers CD, he's got about 2xCD worth of tracks on comps. on Dakini and other labels - have about half burned to a CDR, he needs to gather and release them, wethinks, as while thy don't flow like his CDs, some of the comp. tracks are his finest.

He did a long piece for a soundtrack for a Japanese movie in 2008 that he released at the beginning of 2009 - it's really different than typical Makyo, but really fantastic, one of the best ambient pieces we've heard ever. But the CD is impossible to find in the U.S. (like all Dakini stuff) and ordering it direct it's $18 for a CD EP that's one track, about 15 minutes long.  :P

He said he's got half a new album done - but he says that every time, been half done for at least two, moving on three years now.  ::)

Then again, we've got three albums almost done that are getting close to two years old, although we're trying to keep them from getting long in the tooth, so we're far from critical!

Yet then again, a new Makyo would be vastly better than anything we come out with! :D

ech3

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2009, 08:59:03 PM »
We're on the other side, very into the whole Black Dog / Planet Dog /
...
not sure if Northern Circuits is an Ekko release we missed or a band on Interchill we missed?

Ah yes, Planet Dog.  One of my all time favorite compilation series was "Feed Your Head".  I'm lucky to have all 4.  They're all out of print now.

Northern Circuits and Magnetic Blue were two compilations from Interchill.  In fact, I think they were the first two releases on the label.  Both are out of print.

drone on

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2009, 09:34:56 PM »
I don't have any Dakini.  What can you recommend as the best to seek out (in print or not)? I have my eye on "Sky Dancing Vol.2" as the cover art is gorgeous.

ech3

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 04:54:27 AM »
I don't have any Dakini.  What can you recommend as the best to seek out (in print or not)? I have my eye on "Sky Dancing Vol.2" as the cover art is gorgeous.

The cover art on all Dakini releases is fantastic.  They have beautiful packaging, all of them digipaks.

I agree with Austere, all albums by Makyo are really good as is Padmasana (a Makyo collaboration).  I also like all of the Sky Dancing series (compilations).

Orchid by Ishq is excellent.

I have no idea which of these are still in print.

headonist

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 06:25:11 AM »
A new and up comer is Glacial Movements

http://www.glacialmovements.com/

mgriffin

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2009, 07:18:41 AM »
A new and up comer is Glacial Movements

http://www.glacialmovements.com/


That's true -- a very new label, with less than 10 CDs released, but the overall/average quality of these releases has been very high.
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Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2009, 06:22:22 PM »

I don't have any Dakini.  What can you recommend as the best to seek out (in print or not)? I have my eye on "Sky Dancing Vol.2" as the cover art is gorgeous.

As ech3 said, all Dakini stuff looks fantastic - some of the best covers, ever.

Quote

I agree with Austere, all albums by Makyo are really good as is Padmasana (a Makyo collaboration).  I also like all of the Sky Dancing series (compilations).

All still in print - didn't care for most of the last Sky Dancing comp. nor the mixes from the "Dakini Nights" series, taken from when Gio had a monthly gig. But anything Makyo, and all but the last Sky Dancing we still love deeply and dearly. The first "Tribal Matrix" comp. is excellent, the second very disappointing, sounded like Real World label release. Cool ethnic musick but we already have a ton of that.

Quote

Orchid by Ishq is excellent.

I have no idea which of these are still in print.

Orchid is indeed excellent, and still in print, as is everything on Dakini. Ishq doesn't put out a lot of material, but when they do, it's fantastic.

Ishq is a couple: Matt Hillier and Jacqueline Kersley, both very kind folks. They live in Cornwall in England and have released stuff under several other names: "Ishvara" - pretty good stuff, "Indigo Egg" - didn't compare to Orchid, and "Elve", which was our fave release after "Orchid" until their 2008 release, "Timelapse in Mercury", which is a change for them but really interesting. Don't have their newest on Atmosworks, "Spiritual Science / The Voice From Home" 2xCD.

Yeah, Ishq is a must. Never met anyone who didn't like them. Cheers!
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 06:24:06 PM by Austere »

drone on

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2009, 07:51:25 PM »
Went to the Dakini website and some of the titles indicated "sold out." Are you sure they're all still available?

Austere

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2009, 12:53:54 PM »
Went to the Dakini website and some of the titles indicated "sold out." Are you sure they're all still available?

Wrote Gio to ask, it appears some are titles are sold out, and he's not really selling through the Web site. Will report more as we find out more. Busy busy for the next week....

uhurit

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2010, 12:44:45 PM »
The trouble, I think, is that there isn't too many labels that are consistent (...in my case, I can't  ever go wrong with Alio Die's + Nextera...but musical tastes do differ and individual mileage will vary)

So, it's more of a treausre hunt...labels, or not

deepspace

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Re: A Grand, Possibly Offending Statement 'bout Ambient Labels
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 11:20:19 AM »
We've agreed, after much debate, that most ambient musick out there in the last 3-4 years has been shite.


And that's pretty much where I stopped reading.
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