Review: While you'll find plenty of experienced composers and producers on A Strangely Isolated Place's quietly impressive roster of artists, the Californian label is also excellent at showcasing new talents. They're at it again here, offering up a debut from previously unheard Sardinian artist Blinkar Fran Norr. The eight tracks tend towards the more becalmed, meditative and immersive end of the ambient spectrum, with Norr prioritizing swelling, stretched-out chords, hushed aural textures, atmospheric field recordings, ghostly strings and unearthly instrumental sounds that invite you in for dinner and then persuade you to stay for the weekend. It's beautiful and beguiling, for sure, but also touched with a hint of sadness. As debuts go, it's really rather impressive.
Review: There's no sign of "suspect second album syndrome" on this sophomore set from Brendan "Chymera" Gregoriy's celebrated synthesizer-fired ambient project Merrin Karras. Drawing on his love of 1980s new age and ambient records, as well as a life spent fetishising over electronic hardware, Gregoriy has delivered a set of swelling, slow-burn delights that invite you to share an imaginary journey through the Northwest Passage, a legendary route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Circle that's only accessible at certain times of the year. While some of the music is undeniably icy, there's genuine sonic warmth too; after all, when you can traverse the passage it's light 24 hours a day. In a word: gorgeous.
Review: Consisting of Dennis White, Charlie May, and Dave Gardner, Quiet Places is a new project by the UK producers focusing on vivid and wide-screen journeys. Between the three, their production roots go deep into some of electronic music's most important outputs of the last few decades. Be it performing live as part of Sasha's recent Refracted shows, their own individual projects such as Spooky, Sentre and Cosmonauts or remixing the likes of M83, The XX, Thom Yorke, Little Dragon or Elizabeth Fraser, they are no strangers to electronica.