microphones in the trees

Sunday, March 29, 2020

jean pierrot

1h 32min of soft island music

each song recorded and composed on its own island around the pacific and indian ocean over the last 3 years. composed in one take, as first impressions to each environment of the recording.
a musical collection of postcards and a therapy for your personal space to grow quite.

listen here & here

Thursday, March 05, 2020

~ tropical bliss ~

The music of Grenoble gardener Denis Morin aka Vague Imaginaires cross-pollinates modal synthetics, equatorial ambience, and drum circle minimalism into ecological fantasias of “natural forces and enchanted worlds,” seven of which comprise his spacious debut, L'Île D'or. ~ not not fun

Not Not Fun just did it again ~ another chilled excursion to the imaginary lands full of joyful warmth and psychedelic bliss-out was found under the Vague Imaginaries alias and added to the legendary (yup, with no exaggeration) catalog of the label. Based on the dub-techno-ish pace of rich percussion, albums takes you on a journey with raga-like melodies and shimmering atmospheres built from field recordings ~ there's nothing much to explain in fact, you could clearly imagine what to expect here if you know the label's taste to such sound. Yet, it feels a bit different, another kind of fresh air ~ being rather clean sounding, especially on the contrast with super-hazy lo-fi jams of, say, Dreamers Cloth or Terlu. Yet I'm pretty sure both fans of good sound production and cassette lo-fi-ness are going to be satisfied here ~ with a perfect balance of his compositions, Mgr. Morin manages to drift in between liminal states, keeping his work both upbeat and relaxed at the same time. Some perfect trance-inducing tunes for any lover of lush otherworldly landscapes painted by the light glares through the closed eyelids. That's basically everything you need to do with that tape ~ simply close your eyes and it will do its magic.


Cosmic Chicago modal organ grinder Jimmy Lacy developed the dexterous dialect of SiP some years back while helming a happy hour residency at a Logan Square cocktail lounge that required he vamp rambling three-hour sets nightly. With such a wide window to fill, he free-flowed serpentine mandala keyboard motifs across 15-minute expanses, soaking in every spiral, stasis, and sliding scale. These hypno-motion strategies were rehearsed and refined across stellar radio performances (notably for Planet Catieo, WLPN 105.5FM) and studio sessions, finally culminating in the sidewinder séances of his dazzling debut: Leos Naturals. ~ not not fun

From its very beginning this marvelous debut by SiP takes us to even more upbeat territories yet staying beatless in the usual meaning. It's bouncy, playful and full of great percussive moves but it all stays in the pulsating realm of hypnotizing movements meant to dazzle your perception with major melodic bliss rather than aiming to make your body dance. Still, both is possible and it all depends on how you approach music in general ~ letting it go thought your mind first and then allowing it to control your limbs ~ or vice versa. Such ambivalence is what draws a big portion of attention here, with mind dancing and body perfectly chilling (in my case) while perception spirals out of this world to the fractal ornaments of beautifully crafted melodies. There's definitely an eastern touch, some jazzy Terry Riley for sure, but most of all ~ just plain enjoyment from the artist himself. When one does something one truly enjoys, it pays off clearly, I'd even say it radiates intensively, making this music shine like a summer pool on midday. After listening to this tape you may realize how fleeting it is despite being honest 40 minutes long and fully packed with all kinds of cool synth progressions, groovy vibes and acoustic meanderings (I swear, that bass clarinet on track 4 is just stellar). And also why it was okay for SiP to play three-hous long live sets ~ personally I'd be happy to listen to such jams 24/7 if all the other music in the world got forbidden or something. Could be much better to hear such tunes on every corner, maybe world would become a better place then!


A prime divination document by elusive Floridian entity Wave Temples finally receives full presentation rites: Tales From The Cymatic Abyss. Tracked in fragments from 2013 through 2015, this collection captures the essence of the project’s illusory allure, cross-fading vignettes of coastal drift, thatched hut percussion, and aquamarine dreams into a seamless séance of the inner Keys. ~ not not fun

There are three things you can listen to forever: ocean waves, marimbas and tape hiss. And for that we got Wave Temples, already a classic of tropical drone and neo new age genres whose output has been quite consistent in bringing serenity of desolate shores to our world of ever-growing pace. In these inner journeys you may feel refreshing breeze and simply put your mind at ease but also if often feels inspiring enough not to just seek solace in those tunes but to proceed with the retrieved mindset way further into the daily motions. Sometimes it's surprisingly easy to carry that warmth through all the sharpness and it results in alluring interest to everything you may experience from the perspective of ~ how I love to call it ~ alien observer. The only trick here is probably to successfully soak in all the hiss and breeze in order to find that Inner Key which will open a bigger picture in every experienced situation, be it dance party, morning traffic or your neighbors ranting. When every thing forms a certain pattern, same as the sand does when a wave touches it. When you see it all as meaningful as the sequence of the leaves on a palm tree and as inconsequential as the mosquito buzz at the same time. It all just goes in waves, endlessly unfolding and going back to the ocean. When this tape goes into silence on a joyful tribal vibe, you suddenly realize how cool could it be to go back to the ocean, like right now, becoming some sort of human-amphibian and asking yourself why we left that paradise in the first place... Probably for a reason, but it still greets us back, even if through such a weird manner as recreating itself on cassette tape. Yet, why not, considering that it's a part of the whole anyway =)

Sunday, February 16, 2020

~ sleeping patterns ~

Music For Sleep is Rosh! Records' Andrea Porcu, who's been quite prolific in the last couple of years, releasing some of the best long-form tunes for relaxed activities and, actually, sleeping. Some may come from new age territories, others are more drone-oriented or even in Indian raga style, but overall it's a perfect soundscapes to fill your room and create a relaxed space for your mind and body to rest and re-energize before a new day. On this latest offering, Andrea creates a beautiful lush of nature sounds and gentle synth loops, swirling and spiraling around in the burbling of water, bird songs and crackling of the campfire. Basically, nothing can go wrong with such a recipe as it was proven since the golden years of the New Age genre and it' always nice to see such tunes being released in 2020, when we need those moments of serenity more than ever. 


Under this funny name comes a really hypnotizing experience of two long-form drones, stylized to resemble the classic New Age cassettes from 80's ~ Program A for relaxation and Program B for sleep: seemingly static, yet slowly oscillating textures, slowly fading silence and going back from it in a cyclic manner if you put your volume setting right. An artifact from the vaporwave realms, proving that the younger generation is no less interested in getting their sleeping patterns treated. At the same time, you can easily imagine some classic guided meditation practice being narrated over any of the cassette sides and that way it will as modern as all the meditation mobile apps getting more and more attention lately. 


One can do many things using tapes and modular synths but when your mood is set to finding some stillness in the hectic course of days, these are probably the best instruments for creating slowly breathing self-evolving aural organisms, which will require less and give more. The usual minimalism of Japan-based Endurance has been taken even further on this album, which, by the artist's words was meant to serve as a personal background for daily routines. Drowning in tape hiss, textural field recordings and being mostly just a simple set of tones playing an intricate game of interactions that results in harmony, this work proves that things don't really need to be complicated to create a truly beautiful and serene time-place. 


An interesting take on sleeping music is one this cassette by China-based KeepSleep, who defines her genre as ASMR ambient and literally combines elements of both to create quiet and mesmerizing soundscapes full of tiny elements, meant to be perceived in headphones. Unlike classic New Age era binaural programs which were supposed to interact with your brain wave patterns, the ASMR aims to a different ability of our mind to react specifically to the certain sounds, happening in the stereo panorama around our head. And while the science behind that can still be discussed, the tape works perfectly to its name ~ making you feel completely relaxed when it's time for bed. 


Forest Management must be no stranger to anyone following the ambient cassette scene, especially considering his super-prolific output, but, more importantly, the sound palette the project creates throughout its releases. Warm drones and gentle melodies appear as if coming from nowhere and fade into the oblivion of tape hiss, capturing the moments of fragile serenity. Yet, it stays there even when the music is over, so it works perfectly even only as a precursory listening before going to bed or simply daydreaming when you got that rare opportunity. A hazy vibe of pleasantly lulling melodic noise, that's what basically this short tape is and somehow it makes every moment of it kind of special. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

2019 mixes (VII): Tashi

Australian artist Tashi (Sunmoonstar) has been creating wonderfully creative electronic pieces that we have had the pleasure to listen on tape thanks to several labels such as Inner Islands, Sounds of the Dawn, ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ and others. Her music is refreshing, colorful and magical, and so is her visual art, as you can check above these lines.

Her 'TreeMix' is a collection of luminous folk, ambient and experimental music that feels like looking through a kaleidoscope.

With this beautiful mix we finish this series of mixes of music from 2019. Thank you very much to all the artists and labels who have contributed. We hope you all have enjoyed the sounds and wish you the best in your music explorations!



0:00 H. Takahashi - Pollen
7:45 Soda Lite - Moonah
12:10 Shuta Yasukochi - Bloom
13:40 Cool Maritime - Message
15:55 Prudence - After The Moon
19:48 Visible Cloaks, Yoshiro Ojama, Satsuki Shibano - Lapis Lazuli
27:50 Ami Dang - Love Liesse
31:11 Unknown me - Orbicular Water
35:23 Green House - Peperonia Seedling
38:06 Ann Annie - Wander Intro
43:20 Felicia Atkinson - Lush
46:53 Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society - She Brought The Sun
47:55 Gigi Mason - Calypso
50:09 Imaginary Softwoods - Yellow Calcite II
57:22 Grouper - Breathing
1:00 Emily A. Sprague - A Lake

Sunmoonstar at bandcamp

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2019 mixes (VI): Matthew Erik Hanner

Matthew Erik Hanner runs the Aural Canyon label, well known for releasing excellent ambient and new age tapes. He sent us his own selection of music from 2019, an eclectic mix of ambient and experimental music for a deep listening experience.



ana roxanne - Nocturne 0:00
扎克 - Pure Violet 5:35
Qoa - Krakatoa 9:21
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Joy 12:04
Black Taffy - Para Los Campana 16:56
Tengger - Middle 20:08
ann annie - wander into 24:55
Clams Casino - Healing 28:35
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano - Anata 30:32
Matt Valentine - Rockbottemless 32:58
Dallas Acid - I Fågelns Sång 38:45
ML Wah - Head Out 41:19
r beny - Echo's Verse 46:32
Channelers - Coming To Fullness 51:53
Sam Wilkes - Run 55:56
Tim Hecker - Step Away From Konoyo 60:40
Shlohmo - By Myself 64:30
Pan American - Shenandoah 68:15
Bill Callahan - Morning is My Godmother 73:49


Thursday, January 23, 2020

2019 mixes (V): Sean Conrad

Greetings, dear follower! Today we resume our 2019 mix series for a special mixtape made by Sean Conrad ~ an artist and label curator whose work must be familiar even to our least frequent readers. Through the years, Inner Islands label remains one of our most beloved labels simply because it shares the same aesthetics and feeling we always tried to carry on here on Microphones. Some of the most soulful ambiences and gentle new age hymns are being released at Inner Islands and under Sean's main aliases ~ Ashan and Channelers, among many others which you can always explore through Discogs. Sean's mix features tunes radiating love and light, joy of the being here on this planet and simply experiencing being a human with all its ups and downs ~ as an ongoing project of neverending evolution. Hope you'll enjoy it! ~ piedpaper


0:00 ~ Malibu ~ Nana (Like A Star Made For Me) (Joyful Noise, White Label Series, 2019)
3:38 ~ Julianna Barwick ~ noon (Commend, 2019)
07:21 ~ Jogging House ~ Traverse (Dauw, 2019)
12:47 ~ Emily A. Sprague ~ Synth 2 (RVNG, 2019)
20:17 ~ Wanderwelle & Bandhagens Musikförening ~ Before The Rain (Semantica Records, 2019)
23:43 ~ H. Takahashi ~ Pollen (Where To Now? Records, 2019)
31:30 ~ Green-House ~ Peperomia Seedling (Leaving Records, 2019)
34:47 ~ Andrew Pekler ~ Hy Brasil (Faitiche, 2019)
39:20 ~ peafowl - part two ~ (Self-Released, 2019)
47:17 ~ Jefre Cantu-Ledesma ~ Joy (Mexican Summer, 2019)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

2019 mixes (IV): Tim Six

Today we share a mix by our friend Tim Six, an ambient and drone musician from Russia who also has been releasing music as Creation VI, in addition to some other collaborative projects. He is also a member of the Microphones family -he writes as Pied Paper, here and on his other blog. In addition to his activity as an artist, he runs ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ, a label known for their wonderfully crafted physical editions of drone and ambient albums, and Global Pattern, which focuses on ambient vaporwave cassettes.

His mix is a travel of consciousness through cosmic realms of organic drones and electroacoustic mysteries. Listening to it, you feel like you're looking at unknown depths in the sky surrounded by the wild magic of nature. And it has a hidden surprise: last minutes are an advance of his upcoming album. Enjoy!



00:01 ~ skyminds ~ farther reaches (auasca, 2019)
05:15 ~ подозрительный предмет ~ белые капли бодхичиты (pearly snowdrift, 2019)
09:55 ~ ancient greens ~ indoor jungle (permanent touch, 2019)
12:50 ~ tuluum shimmering ~ blue water sunray pt. 4 (tuluum shimmering, 2019)
15:40 ~ million brazillians ~ strange oasis iii (nonlocal research, 2019)
19:35 ~ ukujula ~ magqabi_mashizhai_tashi溫柔輕盈 (self-released, 2019)
23:20 ~ pool of light 光淵 ~ 霾 haze (wv sorcerer, 2019)
28:20 ~ nite lite ~ oracle (stunned records / sun ark, 2019)
33:55 ~ cheekbone ~ moon night (muzan editions, 2019)
38:05 ~ pjs ~ symbiosis (shimmering moods records, 2019)
43:15 ~ rem koral ~ ego death (pantheophania, 2019)
47:45 ~ 幻 想 風 景 ~ 星間風 (global pattern, 2019)
52:05 ~ 猫シ corp. & telepath ~ lost promises (hiraeth, 2019)
56:35 ~ tim six ~ evening petichor (virtual dream plaza, tba 2020)