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Review of Saline Celestial album by Sevenism on Naviar Records — February 27, 2017

Review of Saline Celestial album by Sevenism on Naviar Records

At its heart Saline Celestial is an ambient / soundscape album with cinematic qualities and a captivating sound. The production is excellent, each sound has room to grow and evolve but there are also subtle hints of tension and dissonance and great movement in the sounds.

A wonderfully ambient, cinematic soundscape with excellent drone qualities and subtle movement. I really like the emerging string sound and its contrast with the subtle bass.

Blurred Clouds
A slightly distorted arp to open with a subtle delayed percussive rhythm, there’s subtle movement creating a rich bass contrasting against an airy pad type sound.

An emerging string sound to open with subtle bass undertones, the sound ebbs and flows with a touch of dissonance.

Humid Afternoon
An atmospheric opening with excellent layering, there’s subtle movement in the background sounds which have a floaty feel complimented by a lead and delayed bird tweeting sounds. It’s a really hypnotic sound with a haunting quality.

An emerging synth sound to open which swells with subtle bass and vocal qualities, this is another really captivating track. There’s a subtle build and release of tension through the track.

Naviar Records facebook | twitter | website

Sevenism: soundcloud | facebook | twitter

Review of ‘A Room with A Zoo’ single by The Winachi Tribe — February 21, 2017

Review of ‘A Room with A Zoo’ single by The Winachi Tribe

I was very impressed by ‘A Time for Love’ by The Winachi Tribe which I’ve previously reviewed here. It’s therefore great to see another release from them. ‘A Room With a Zoo’ was released last November on iTunes and amazon. It’s a release which sees a development of The Winachi Tribe’s excellent soulful funky sound.

A Room With a Zoo (Radio edit)
This song opens with an excellent percussive rhythm. It’s really well layered with an atmospheric pad and excellent riff, there’s a cool synth lead and great background effects too. The song has an excellent vibe, a soulful and funky feel with just a hint of blues in the riff. The children singing is an excellent touch and a great element to the song.

A Room With a Zoo (Sorrel and Nolano mix part 1)
An excellent funky bass to open, the song has a great groove with excellent use of animal noises. I really like how the mix blends elements of the original with a funky vibe focusing on the bass and also creates an edge of tension. There’s an excellent synth riff with great use of delay.

A Room With a Zoo (Sorrel and Nolano mix part 2)
This mix has more of a tech / tribal feel to the drumbeat and a minimal vibe at times. The string part works really well too.


The release is accompanied by a ten minute short film embedded above, a collaboration between the band and California-based Mancunian filmmaker Trevor Miller. The film depicts an epic and mystical journey, where a young singer imbibes the hallucinogen ‘Ayahuasca’ and is transported into the desert to battle his personal demons, only to be rescued by a white-suited Angel portrayed by international Tommy Flanagan, star of Sons Of Anarchy and Peaky Blinders.

Neon Tetra Music PR website | facebook | twitter

The Winachi Tribe website | facebook | twitter

Review of Hornet Deelay VST by Hornet Plugins —

Review of Hornet Deelay VST by Hornet Plugins

Hornet Deelay is a digital dub delay with the option of a vintage button which gives the early 90s sound when digital was imperfect and had its own character. It’s available as 32 and 64 bit win / mac; VST 2.4, VST3, RTAS & AAX formats.

It’s basically a dual delay effect with a delay time up to 5000ms or alternatively a sync mode from 1/16th to 1 bar. Feedback can be panned per channel and there’s also output panning per channel. There are options to link feedback and/or delay time settings. There’s also an option to apply an LFO from 0.1Hz to 10Hz with a modulation setting to create those ‘wobble’ sounds.

In use it’s a very capable delay effect. It has a well designed interface which is clear and well laid out although it isn’t scalable. The sound quality is excellent, a very clean sound with a great presence and can create anything from metallic modulation to dub delays.

It comes with 15 presets and these are great starting points to explore and experiment with. As with any good delay effect you don’t tend to rely on presets, you’ll definitely get the most out of it by tweaking these to your own requirements which won’t take long because it’s very easy to use. What I really like is how it can be a workhorse delay for basic delay effects or you can create more extreme effects, especially when parameters are changed in real time.

The track embedded above is a good example of its versatility. It is a simple track comprised of a bass and chord loop with a percussive rhythm which Deelay is used on. The track was recorded live with parameters changed in real time, hopefully you can hear the movement between the ‘sweet spot’ and out of sync sound as the delay time is changed. The track shows the sort of range of effects that it can produce.

One comment I would make for a possible update would be changes to the LFO. It would be useful to have negative values so the sound can go also go down in pitch but this is quite a minor point and certainly doesn’t detract from the usability of the delay.

It is also very reasonably priced and offers more flexibility and control than very capable free options such as ValhallaFreqEcho, TAL Dub Delay III or Sanford Delay. For instance ValhallaFreqEcho is a mono delay with maximum delay time of 1000ms; Tal Dub Delay III is also mono with maximum delay time of 4000ms and Sanford Delay is a dual delay but has a maximum delay time of 1000ms.

Hornet Deelay is available from Hornet Plugins typically priced at 7.99 euros

Keep up to date with Hornet Plugins on twitter | website | facebook

Cities and Memory Sacred Sounds project launch — February 13, 2017

Cities and Memory Sacred Sounds project launch

Today sees the launch of Cities and Memory latest – and largest – project, Sacred Sounds. It’s been a huge effort over the past three months with submissions from 123 artists featuring sounds from 34 countries.

You can explore field recordings from churches, temples, prayers, songs, bells and more on an interactive map on the Cities and Memory website which also features a playlist of submissions.

The sounds in the project include some of the world’s most iconic sacred spaces, including Notre-Dame de Paris, Seville Cathedral, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Milan’s Duomo and Wat Pho in Bangkok.

Recordings of English churches in remote locations was provided through a partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust, who provided Cities and Memory with exclusive access to their properties, including church organs and bells.The project features:

  • Churches from all over the UK;
  • Temples: sounds from China, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand and more;
  • Prayers: from mass and remembrance services to prayer wheels and Quranic recitations;
  • Bells: how bells ring out, from Mandalay to Mexico City;
  • Organs: church organs, from the humble to the mighty in sound and scale;
  • Calls to prayer from Jerusalem, New Delhi, Tirana, Dhaka and more;
  • Songs: icaro songs, Hare Krishna processions, vespers and choirs;
  • Cathedrals: the sounds of cavernous spiritual constructions;
  • Sacred ambiences: Mausoleums, funeral homes and other sacred spaces.

There’s also an interview on the BBC’s today programme which you can listen to here.

I’m delighted to take part in this latest project and have submitted two reimagined sounds to the project.

I chose the Lincoln Cathedral recording because it is a landmark which dominates the local skyline. Building started in 1072 and was somewhat eventful – by 1232 it had been ravaged by fire, destroyed by an earthquake and the central tower collapsed.

When the central tower was replaced with a tower and a spire it was the tallest building in the world for 238 years until a raging storm blew the spire down in 1548.It has seen the plague, the renaissance, countless wars, the turmoil of the 20th Century and now faces the absurdity of our current position and the same bleak outlook we all do.

I’ve reimagined the recording, a snapshot of 3 minutes, as a representation of the history and turbulent times using some of my favourite sound design tools :

Dust by Soundmorph – a new discovery which is a sample based granulising synthesiser which uses real time particle simulation. It’s an excellent tool for creating anything from cinematic soundscapes to glitchy textures.

Noisetar by NuSofting – An entry in the KVR Developer’s Challenge 2016 it’s a synthesiser that produces noise based sounds.

Spaceship Delay by Musical Entropy – An entry in the KVR Developer’s Challenge 2016 it’s an excellent and fully featured delay effect

Incipit by Inear Display – This is a creative delay effect which produces glitchy or dub type delays

Hornet Deelay – Another recent discovery, its a dub delay with vintage character

Cataract by Glitchmachines – a sample scanner with modulation and morphing which can produce intricate percussive rhythms to glitcjy chaos

Fracture XT by Glitchmachines – a glitch effect with very cool patchable effects section

Cryogen by Glitchmachines – a modular buffer effects processor designed to generate robotic artifacts and abstract musical mutations

Subvert by Glitchmachines – a 3 channel distortion effect

Metric Halo Dirty Delay – Another excellent delay effect with a very clean and spacious sound

Nave by Waldorf – A wavetable synth that produces some excellent sounds

Lagrange – Another entry in the KVR Developer’s Challenge 2016, a delay effect using granular techniques which has a unique sound.

There were a few spare sounds available for submission so I created a second piece:

I really liked the variety of sounds from voices to impacts and the ambience of the space. There’s a kind of anticipation waiting for the trumpets. I’ve tried to capture this using a cut up method with subsequent processing. I’ve used two instances of Polygon by Glitchmachines with Tal Dub 3 delay; Dust by Soundmorph; Glitch microloop tool in Hollyhock II processed with Valhalla FreqEcho, Svep by Klevgrand and Sanford Reverb. I’ve also manually triggered some of the cut up sounds during the recording which were processed with Spaceship delay and edited other settings during the recording. I’ve ended the piece using the final practice at the end of the recording processed with Frostbite and Incipit.

As well as the two submissions to the project, I’ve also created a long form piece which is about an hour long. I set up a workspace in Hollyhock II but unfortunately one of the VSTs caused a crash half way through so I recorded the whole piece as three separate live pieces and mixed them together. I’ve mainly used the Lincoln Cathedral sound, the Dom Zu Luebeck sound was used in the middle.

Review of ‘Sun’ album by Dreamtime on Cardinal Fuzz / Captcha Records — February 9, 2017

Review of ‘Sun’ album by Dreamtime on Cardinal Fuzz / Captcha Records


Simply put, this is stunning. It’s an awesome album which has such a cool vibe with a really hypnotic sound. Each song is arranged and played brilliantly with a result that the song is much greater than the sum of its parts. The songs have an excellent jam quality, a spontaneous feel to them often with a great intensity, floaty vocals, swirling background sounds and Eastern, classical and blues influences.

It was released by Cardinal Fuzz as a limited yellow/purple swirl vinyl in March 2016 so there’s no surprises that it has sold out.

For customers in the USA it is available from Captcha Records on purple swirl vinyl and handmade CD.

The good news for everyone is that a digital download is available from the Captcha Records link above.

Centre of Mind
A sweeping drone type of sound to open, the bass gives a great momentum. The vocals are great with an excellent contrasting female choral sound swirling with a floaty quality and the guitar riff gives a looping feel.

The opening is quite difficult to define, it sounds like delayed percussive sounds with feedback, maybe even a mangled recording of water too, there’s a Japanese feel and some overtone singing for good measure followed by the growl of distorted guitar which creates a great tension. The vocals are great, like a prayer or incantation and there’s a real ominous feel which bursts into a jam session with excellent bass / drumming and great distorted solo with increasing momentum to a release.

The Road
A really cool vibe to this song which opens with an organ sound as a drone with great movement, the bassline creates an excellent groove complimented by the guitar riff. The vocals are superb, a dreamy, floaty feel which contrasts really well against the rhythm. The solo is spot on, it has a bluesy feel at times.

Quite a laid back vibe to this song with natural percussion, synth riff and slightly distorted guitar riff.

A slow purposeful bass riff to open with shimmery guitar chords and riff with a surf guitar kind of feel. The female vocals have a great presence and slightly haunting beauty, there are excellent harmonies with the male vocals at times. The song builds momentum slowly increasing tempo with increasing intensity in the vocals to a release. The distorted riff and drumming pick up the pace into a solo section with great intensity with a brief respite before picking up the pace again before a final release.

A great riff with reversed sounds to open, there’s a classical kind of feel to the guitar accompanied by sparse percussion leading into a more uptempo riff with a middle eastern feel at times and a lonesome feel to end.

Art of Invisibility
A great evolving opening with swirling background sounds and shimmering guitar riffs, percussion is sparse and there’s an Eastern feel at times. There’s a real hypnotic quality leading to a great jam. The vocals are excellent and have a unearthly feel to them. A great build of tension is released to the squelchy riff which fades, replaced by evolving, swirling and some reversed sounds to provide a great contrast and a hypnotic end to the track.

Cardinal Fuzz on twitter
Cardinal Fuzz on facebook

Captcha Records on twitter
Captcha Records on facebook

Review of ‘Going, Going…’ LP by The Wedding Present on Scopitones and HHBTM Records — February 5, 2017

Review of ‘Going, Going…’ LP by The Wedding Present on Scopitones and HHBTM Records

The Wedding Present don’t need much of an introduction, formed in 1985 they are one of the UK’s most longstanding and much-loved indie bands with eighteen UK Top 40 hit singles to their name. Going, Going… is the title of the widely anticipated ninth studio album which tells the story of a road trip across the USA, revealed across a collection of twenty ‘linked’ songs, each with an accompanying short film.

More accurately, the album is an accumulation of thoughts collected during a road trip over the course of 20 songs, each with its own accompanying short film. The music is literally cinematic, in many cases written while looking at photographs & film recorded during the journey. It is their first double album and due to it’s nature it’s not a conventional release.

The UK release is on Scopitones and is available as a standard CD+DVD, a deluxe CD+DVD with 8 bonus tracks and a double LP + DVD (comes in heavyweight vinyl and also includes the album on CD. Also contained in this format is a 7” single with four acoustic versions of songs from the album plus the DVD and lyrics).

The North American release is on HHBTM Records and is available as a double LP.

The Wedding Present have a great sound on this album, somewhere between post punk, shoegaze and indie rock. What I really like is how they change moods and feeling with changes in tempo and from jangly to distorted sound which often creates tension or anticipation. The vocals are superb with excellent harmonies and the drumming and bass is solid providing excellent momentum. You can really relate to the lyrics too, there’s an openness, an honesty about them – it’s excellent songwriting.

The production is brilliant, arrangements are simple and by that I mean not over complicated but each element has its place and has space to evolve.

A great atmospheric opening to this track which creates an edge of tension. I really like the evolution of the bass, piano, guitar and organ which takes a darker turn with the introduction of distortion. There’s a great build and release through the song.

Great natural drumming to open with a voice reading out coordinates. A background drone slowly evolves providing a great contrast.

Beautiful vocal ‘ahhs’ to open, the drumming and bass enter to give momentum accompanied by an almost harp like acoustic guitar riff and lovely vocal harmonies. The slightly distorted electric guitar riff adds a great element.


Opening with a piano riff with great momentum, the strings compliment really well.

Two Bridges
A distorted riff to open, great uptempo drumming and bass give momentum. I really like the variation between the open guitar sound and more of a chord vamp feel. There’s a great release of tension which builds slowly to a shoegaze feel at the end.

Little Silver
Great riff and drumming to open, the vocals are excellent. Quite a sad feel with the vocals, the distorted riff adds a great edge of angst and there’s a nice solo to end.


The song opens with feedback leading into a really distorted riff, a great release to an acoustic riff and vocals with a great edge of angst. The distorted guitar provides a great contrast. Some lovely harmonies too.

A really uptempo feel to this song, great call and response feel between the distorted and more jangly parts.

Great drumming to open with excellent momentum from bass and guitar riff. There’s a great interplay between anticipation and tension with distorted and jangly riffs and changes in feel.

Kill Devil Hills
Great riff and vocals to open, drumming is uptempo giving great momentum. A really uptempo vibe to this song with nice build and release of tension.

Distorted riff to open, the song has a brooding quality propelled by bass and drumming. Some great vocal harmonies.

Choppy distorted riff creates a great tension released to a jangly riff. Great use of distortion and change of tempo through the song. Excellent vocals and harmonies again.

Edgy sounding riff to open released to a jangly riff and solid momentum from drumming and bass. Great build and release of tension again.

Unearthly sounding vocals to open, a slow brooding song with great drumming, bass and acoustic riff. The vocals are excellent again. There’s a sinister feel at times. Excellent change of feel to more uptempo distorted sound to end.

Broken Bow
Distorted riff to open, a great momentum from solid drumming and bass. Great vocals with lovely harmonies again. Excellent contrast between distorted and acoustic jangly riffs.

There’s a great groove to this song with excellent distorted riffing and contrasting jangly riff. Vocals have a great edge of angst and strings add a great element.

Ten Sleep
I really like the bright sounding riff to open leading into a more distorted sound. There’s a great uptempo feel to this song, excellent vocals again and a great contrast in sound building tension to end.

Spoken Welsh language with jangly acoustic riff and subtle emerging drone, it’s a floaty opening with really nice change in feel to a distorted riff, drumming and bass with a great uptempo feel.


An excellent opening subdued riff leading into an acoustic riff with bass and great drumming. There’s a great change in feel with the use of distortion and more uptempo strummed chords. Excellent vocals again.

Santa Monica
A slowly evolving opening with acoustic jangly riff and great drumming which creates an excellent atmosphere. The vocals are excellent again and there’s a great change in feel to a more distorted sound.

The 8 bonus tracks on the deluxe version are an assortment of acoustic and live versions which are a great compliment to the originals – Bells (piano version); Broken Bow (acoustic version); Rachel (acoustic version); Little Silver (Piano quintet version); Ten Sleep (Live in session for Lucid); Broken Bow (Live in session for Lucid); Two Bridges (Live in Gijon) and Birdsnest (Live in Paris).

The Wedding Present are also excited to announce a 13-date tour of North America, where they will be supported by fabulous indie pop star Colleen Green. Live dates are as follows:

April 2017
14 : Washington, DC – Rock And Roll Hotel
15 : Brooklyn, NY – Bell House
16 : Boston, MA – Great Scott
17 : Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz PDB
19 : Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
20 : Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
21 : Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
22 : Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club
25 : Seattle, WA – Crocodile
26 : Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
28 : San Francisco, CA – Independent
29 : Los Angeles, CA – Echo
30 : San Diego, CA – Casbah

Keep up with The Wedding Present
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube

Keep up with HHBTM Records
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

Keep up with Shameless Promotion PR
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Drawn Against the Sun compilation on Terranean Recordings (release date 02 Feb 2017) — February 1, 2017

Drawn Against the Sun compilation on Terranean Recordings (release date 02 Feb 2017)

Terranean Recordings is a non-profit digital label run by Luke Lund. Drawn Against the Sun is Terranean Recordings 100th release and features 37 exclusively presented tracks and over 3 hours of material from artists such as Amantra, Wizards Tell Lies, Chuter, Trium Circulorum, KEK-W and many more. A preview is embedded above.

There are 13 additional tracks which are available exclusively on a hand made CDr with sales supporting the upcoming physical edition label BARELY HERE. The CDr is limited to 50x copies with three cover variations and these will ship on release date. They can be ordered from the bandcamp page embedded below and pre-sales are going very well, there’s only about half left at the time of writing.

I’m delighted to have a track released exclusively on the CDr version, it’s called ‘world beyond the mists’ and it is a dark ambient, glitchy track influenced by H P Lovecraft after which it takes its name.

I’d also highly recommend checking out their previous releases, there’s tons of excellent music from ambient, experimental, avant-garde, minimal to industrial which are available as name your price downloads.