Every reviews about KrysaliSound releases…

In recent weeks, my daily efforts seem to nudge towards my writing career more than my work for Merchants Of Air. In a way, that is a good evolution, certainly from a professional standpoint. However, I missed writing about brilliant new albums, and especially about albums that play a certain role in my other writings. This one by James A. McDermid has been playing quite a few times in the past few days. It accompagnied me while I created a new chapter in my ‘Unwasted Years’ project, thus it serves as some sort of inspiration. I said it before and I’ll say it again, that is what good albums do: inspire people. Therefore it’s certainly good enough to be reviewed.

Of course, James A. McDermid is no stranger to Merchants Of Air. Last April I reviewed his ‘Ghost Folk’ album, which had been released on Polar Seas Records (read). Now, the Bristol, England resident returns with a brand new set of instrumentals. Like ‘Ghost Folk’, this album is dedicated to McDermid’s sister Harriet, who passed away in August 2016. In these twelve tracks he tries to cope with the loss and the grief. You can also hear that. Although I tagged this as “ambient” most of the songs here are vague, subdued pieces of music, influenced by folk, ambient and post rock. You can hear sad guitars, gloomy soundscapes and a deeply introvert atmosphere.

I found it hard to pick a favorite track on this album, but I guess that’s just my massive adoration for ambient music. ‘Within Reach’ is a certain candidate for that spot, but so is the dark and droning ‘If You Concede’ and the lingering ‘All The Shutters Are Closed’. In all, obviously, this is a splendid album, a very emotional too. I’m certain that all of these tracks will appear in my day-to-day playlist from now on, along with their predecessors of ‘Ghost Folk’. Some of these songs will probably function as inspiration again as they are perfect mood setters. So yes, this album comes highly recommended to all ambient aficionados out there.



JAMES A. MCDERMID – Tonal Glints (KrysaliSound, 2018) A pochi mesi di distanza dallo zibaldone sonoro “Ghost Folk” (2017), James A. McDermid torna a dare forma alla seconda tappa di un percorso al tempo stesso creativo e interiore, che lo ha portato a confrontarsi come uomo prima ancora che come artista con l’elaborazione del lutto […]

via — music won’t save you

It’s pretty weird the first language for a set of human sentences included in the messages to the universe in one of the two golden phonographs, that are supposedly wandering in the universe through Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 like a bottle in the ocean by the inhabitants of this planet, was Sumerian. Believers of the theory of Ancient Astronauts could think it was a pretty ironic choice and maybe some of them could argue that this mission is a possible NASA hoax. Whether these space missions are real or not (this is not the space to discuss this thread), the simple idea that there’s something surfing the deep space to testify that something’s happening down here on “the third planet of the star Sun” (a quote of the sentence in Oriya language of these human greetings, attached to a set of images and music, selected by a commission led by Carl Sagan in the late 70ies) is a romantic source of inspiration for many earthlings, including the one of Carlo Monti – another Carl like Sagan…-, a young Italian guitarist, who moved into the territories of experimental and ambient music after years in the ones of prog-rock. Given that it’s just his debut, this student of Music Information Science at the University of Milan explores a theme on the nose of many musicians, but he made it in a somehow original way. He also included some samples taken from the NASA Voyager Golden Record (no need to sign a waiver, as it’s a Creative Common), but the most interesting aspect is the emotional framework that he evoked over this stream of clues and traces of human civilization. The graceful elongations of piano chords in the initial “Faded”, the seemingly chaotic radio signals of “Perpetual Angels”, the hyper-effected synth brasses and the vitreous consonances of “Oceanless”, the meditative halo of “A Prayer” and the distant fluctuation in the infinite evoked by the boundless digressions by the final “On The Share” match the atavistic feeling in between astonishment and anxiety of those inhabitants of this planet, who didn’t forget to be part of something bigger than the deceptive fences of private property yet. Available in digital format as free download according to NASA samples copyright.

Link here

While the ambient music subgenre of field recording has already been heavily explored, there is a renewing naivete I find in layering protoconversation and young children’s laughs and chatter onto monoid synth. While children can come out with the most random question of reality at uncertain times, monoid synth drone matching with vocals is something still refreshing and wonderful. The happy/sad neutralising is enigmatic.

‘Field Recording Meets Sound’ is a superb exploration of the will ‘o wisp burn of good ambience in a post-youthquake environment of milleni-mania. The sleepy-eyed and toxic nature of drone impregnates the surface sheen of the quality dorian-led sounds, and the nascent lack of solidified scales lends the music a naively posited professionalism, hence a between-state, a purity of fashion.

The opening to the record conjures up a bustling city street, cars passing and humans moving bumper to bumper of the drone’s base-line. There is a cordial overlap between choral music and musique concrete; voice shards blend into a smoothie mush against the very Pausal and Rafael Antoni Irissari esque hum of the record. Meaning to placate emotionally the roundabout encirclement of the somehow managed vocal loops, there is a majesty of tapestry coagulated through forceful re-clustering of the central vocal/synth sound set.

A gripping element of the music is its immediate joility and then its spreading of aesthetic colours into a peacock tail kaleidoscope of sometimes languid, occasionally touching and regularly haunting passages.

What particularly excites and succeeds about this album is its candour. It sounds innocent. Always of its time; never pretentious. These feelings you get channeled from the drones are contentment based. Recommended!


In 1977 Nasa launched two Voyager spacecrafts, each carrying a golden record. The records feature sounds and images from earth, along with instructions on how either alien lifeforms or future humans can play them. There is also a note from president Carter, who said “This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.”. The content was selected by Carl Sagan and his team. It contains music from Bach, Beethoven, Chuck Berry and many more. Sidenote, EMI refused to add a Beatles song.

These golden records were the main inspiration for this debut album by Italian guitarist and sound sculptor Carlo Monti under his MCVX moniker. Not only does he use some of the sounds and sample from the records, he also managed to create a matching space ambient sound. Monti, being a progressive rock guitarist, obviously knows a thing or two about elaborate soundscapes and atmosphere, something he clearly showcases on this album.

The album contains five tracks, all of them being immersive pieces of ambient. Here and there percussion, voices or unidentifiable samples enhance the vast and ever-expanding feel, like in the brilliant ‘Perpetual Angelus’. ‘Oceanless’ seems to take on a somewhat noisier approach, which immediately gives the track a haunting atmosphere. My favorite track here is the opener ‘Faded’, which reminds me of acts like IIVII, followed by the beautiful  ‘A Prayer’.

So in all, this is a splendid piece of work, delivered by a seasoned musician, one I gladly recommend to all you ambient aficionados out there. I don’t think that’s a surprise since  the quality label Krysalisound has released the album and Francis M. Gri mastered the thing. ‘Voyagers’ is free to download, according to NASA samples copyright and I strongly suggest you do so. This is a gem.


Le registrazioni ambientali e la musica ambient sono da sempre unite in modo praticamente indissolubile; una sorta di eredità creativa e carica di suggestione della musique concretefrancese, musica ben più più fredda e rigida. DR – iniziali del musicista tedesco Dominic Razlaff, giunto al suo terzo album – propone una lunga serie di registrazioni ambientali catturate nella sua città, Braunschweig, che colgono quegli aspetti più suggestivi e nascosti della vita quotidiana, di quegli atti che distrattamente compiamo ogni giorno, che – se prendiamo per buone le idee rivoluzionarie di John Cage – sono inconsapevoli produttori di musica.

Il canto degli uccelli, le risate dei bambini, i passi frenetici di un uomo che corre per non perdere un autobus, i dialoghi tra individui o la pioggia battente, tutto quello che ci circonda è un’incessante colonna sonora che avvolge la nostra vita, udibile solo a chi ha orecchie per sentirla. DR, partendo da brevi field record, è come se trasformasse la realtà in sogno; come se – catturando elementi della realtà – li mutasse, potremmo dire li traslasse in un mondo onirico, non tangibile o materiale. Ci troviamo quindi di fronte a quindici piccoli acquerelli ambient plasmati per coniugare razionale e irrazionale, astrazione e concretezza.

“Field Recording Meets Sound” diventa, di conseguenza, una sorta di manifesto per chi è capace di fuggire dalla realtà pur facendone parte integrante, di sognare a occhi aperti pur avendo davanti a sé solo elementi concreti. E’ un itinerario di synth avvolgenti (“II”, “VIII”), ma anche di corde di chitarra (“IV”) e di imponenti cori angelici (“X”) che tracciano un percorso che è disponibile davanti ai nostri sensi ogni giorno, se solo si avesse la capacità e la voglia di udirlo. Così le registrazioni ambientali incontrano il suono, si sovrappongono a esso per restarne legate in modo indissolubile, come in “XV”, dove la pioggia che cade furiosa si aggrega alle morbidissime melodie di piano come se non potesse farne a meno.


DR “FIELD RECORDING MEETS SOUND” KRYSALISOUND RECORDS KS23. CD, 2017 di Alessandro Nobis Ne è passato di tempo da quando Pierre Shaeffer – era il 1948 – teorizzò la “musica concreta” realizzando una serie di registrazione per la francese RTF, e ne è passato quasi altrettanto da quando questa teoria fu abbandonata dai compositori dell’epoca in […]

via DR “FIELD RECORDING MEETS SOUND” — ildiapasonblog


MCVX – Voyagers (KrysaliSound, 2017) Quella dello spazio è una dimensione con la quale ogni sperimentazione sonora latamente definibile come ambientale finisce in maniera inevitabile per confrontarsi, che si tratti di quello limitato di una stanza o di una sala delle quali catturare le risonanze, ovvero dell’orizzonte di ampiezza indefinita di luoghi naturali dei quali […]

via — music won’t save you

CARLO MONTI – MCVX “Voyagers” KRYSALISOUND RECORDS. CD 2017 di Alessandro Nobis L’idea originalissima – ed anche ben realizzata – che sta alla base di questo primo lavoro del chitarrista – manipolatore di suoni Carlo Monti è quella di utilizzare i saluti ad eventuali alieni in 55 lingue, brani musicali (da Bach a Chuck Berry) ed […]

via CARLO MONTI – MCVX “Voyagers” — ildiapasonblog