remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Sonmi451 – Four Peaks – Time Released Sound

Posted in Reviews: Electronic by remotethoughts on November 7, 2012

Sonmi451 - Four Peaks

Having been a big fan of Sonmi451 for many years now, it’s always pleasing to discover a new release on a superb homegrown label. And Time Released Sound has certainly been delivering the goods for some time.

Bernard Zwijzen’s take on minimalism and soundscape electronica has developed over the years. From his earlier, dare I say it, clicky style, with references to labels such as 12k and artists like Shuttle358, through to a more ambient, ethereal sound.

This work, heavily influenced by the idea of the beauty of nature, is a delicate and otherworldly creation that comes in four distinct parts. Each track references a mountainous peak, and this starting point gives each piece a glacial grandeur.

Although driven by his beatless sound, this is far from flat. Melodic passages give the work movement and sparkle, while the underlying textures and tones keep everything spacious and distant sounding. Simple sinewave notes create a warm overlay to the icy backgrounds, and the blend of the two is magical.

As always with Sonmi’s music, repeat listens provide more and more understanding of the subtleties at work. That sound that wasn’t noticeable on the first listen becomes more apparent with each experience. An enveloping sense of time almost slowing down while listening adds to the depth and breadth of the music. Allow yourself to sink into this and it will provide you wth many happy hours of blissful electronic listening.

All told, this is another quite beautiful release from an artist that I’ve come to admire more and more over the years. A big recommendation, then.

Check it here: Time Released Sound

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Sonmi451 – Ruis – Slaapwel

Posted in Reviews: Electronic by remotethoughts on June 22, 2010

Sonmi451 - Ruis

Artist: Sonmi451

Title: Ruis

Label: Slaapwel

Cat No.: UNKNOWN

Format: CD – Edition of 500 copies

I think I mentioned the other day how much I like Sonmi451. Well, blow me down if there isn’t another release out today on the lovely Slaapwel imprint. Taking the form of a limited CD with a Louis Reith print and an accompanying free download (so you can get your teeth into it straight away) or, if you prefer, a straight digital download. I know which one I prefer…

To a large degree this is a release that is perfectly capable of making its own case for why it’s so fine. Simply listening to it is liable to be more than enough persuasion for most people (and rather excellently, there’s a sizeable preview on the website) but I really feel that this one should be drawn to your attention.

Taking the approach of being a sleep enhancing or inducing piece of work (after the name of the label, one would think) this 32 minute track is an absolutely sublime slice of hypnotic ambient goodness. Dense, but never overpowering, the main sequence of tones and chords is like the best kind of lullaby – all melancholy and deep – and the tinkling sine-wave sounds that provide the melodic content really set them off beautifully. Add in some washes of grain and static in the background and you’ve got a track that seems tailor-made to appeal to the likes of me.

In some ways you could say it doesn’t develop very much, and I guess that’s true to a small degree. But that’s really the wrong way to approach it as the shifts and delicate changes in the background give it way more movement than you might imagine the first time you hear it – although to be fair it only took me one listen to be smitten and now I’m on my third run through. Repeated listening really does bring out the subtlety and loveliness and I can really see this becoming an indispensable release for those nights where I just can’t seem to get any sleep. And believe me, there are plenty of those at the moment!

Treat yourself to a slice of ambient electronic heaven and help spread the word about just how superb Sonmi451 really is. Bravo to artist and label.

Sonmi451 – Spectrum – U-Cover

Posted in Reviews: Electronic by remotethoughts on June 19, 2010

Sonmi451 - Spectrum

Artist: Sonmi451

Title: Spectrum

Label: U-Cover

Cat No.: U-COVER037

Format: CDr

Ah yes, Sonmi451. I’m really pleased to hear some new work from this artist as I’m a bit of a fan it must be said. All of his releases thus far have seen a heck of a lot of airtime on the Remote_ portable music system (otherwise known as an iPod) and this one doesn’t look as though it’s going to change that state of affairs one bit.

His work has always had a lightly ambient touch and a melodic feel – just listen to ‘A Phosphorous Spot’ for example – but has tended towards a gently rhythmic approach along the lines of some of the clicks & cuts material; intricate, yet flowing and with a nice balance between 4/4 beats and a classic electronica style. This album strips pretty much all of the percussive elements out and delivers an out and out ambient selection that works on all the right levels.

Taking the opening track as an example it features a deliciously slow and gradual build up of layers with an almost subliminal way of fading in the tones. A wash of grainy chords, a high string here and there and a feeling of free flowing, floaty depth combine to make a hypnotic and incredibly relaxing atmosphere.

From there he varies the sounds and layers to form a series of intrinsically linked experiences that seamlessly glide into each other, sharing motifs and ideas but never actually copying them.

Uplifting yet melancholic progressions and drifts maintain the low-key style and the occasional clicky sound or static tone will enter the mix, but it uses them to accentuate the purely beatless sound design rather than dominate it. Chimes, twinkling pianos and touches of glistening melody as well as some lovely natural sounds enhance an already deft palette and you end up with an album that’s as much in the ballpark of artists like Celer or Taylor Deupree as it is in the previous Jan Jelinek style mold.

A charming and beautifully put together piece of work overall and certainly something that marks an interesting development of the Sonmi sound which I’ll be very keen to hear more of in the near future.

Ambient lovers form an orderly queue as this a really good one.

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