Norman Westberg: After Vacation (LP, Room 40, July 2018)

Ahhhhh! Swans-chappy Norman Westberg has been playing with his guitars and his effects pedals and has come up with a lovely sort of ambient drone thing which immediately sweeps you away in a sort of floaty haze. Little plucked melodies drift in and out of the gentle waves of texture. It reminds me a little bit of Mike Shiflet and High Aura’d’s Awake, although it’s a little less dense (by this analogy, the closing title track here, which introduces the most straightforward, open, acoustic sound of the record, would correspond to that album’s Covered Bridge, which I described as the clouds parting briefly). These are the kinds of record that create an oasis of peace in our busy lives, and I say yay for that. An understated gem.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Dark Ambient / Drone / Metal.

Rafael Anton Irisarri: A Fragile Geography (LP, Room 40, January 2016)

This is just top notch melodic classical drone ambient. Irisarri has been at this for a while (I’m quite fond of It Falls Apart, his 2010 album as The Sight Below) and he just seems to keep getting better. There’s that gently pulsing humming noise, the drawn-out strings layered subtly over the top, just the right amount of melody, just the right amount of processing. My favourite track here is Empire Systems, which sounds like… well, if you took the moment near the start of Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity, where the chant-like synth noise has emerged out of the fuzz and you’re just waiting for the Morse code to come in (stay with me here) and you got Tim Hecker to do an 8-minute cover of just that moment… it might sound something like this. Which is, obviously, brilliant.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Electronic, Dark Ambient / Drone / Metal.