Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged ambient

Fairytales and Lullabies

Sol Skugga is someone I need to keep my eye on. Her third album, Fairytales and Lullabies, is a well-mixed collection of electronica, ambiance, and folk. Skugga wrote, mixed, and produced her own tracks. Clearly a collector of sound, her long list of instruments include vocals, piano, acoustic and electric guitars, "electronic drums in all shapes," ambient sounds, synthesizers, samplings of Nordic nature, and rhythm instrumentation.


“When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras,” admonishes the medical aphorism. There are some quiet percussive hoof beats in “Goodbye Little Song” and other tracks on Karl Blau's new twelve-song release, Zebra. “Waiting for the Wind” opens with bells that sound like wind chimes and a relaxing vibe. The tempo picks up on “Dark Sedan Returns,” but returns to a righteous sedateness.

Fabric 47

For the thumping album Fabric 47, Jay Haze, the Pennsylvania-born and Berlin-based teamed up with the series of compilation albums produced by the legendary London nightclub of the same name. Haze is the quintessential renaissance man with experience in running multiple record labels and starting up the online electronic music magazine Textone in 2003, all while producing both collaborative and solo albums.

Rainwater Cassette Exchange

Deerhunter's latest album, Rainwater Cassette Exchange, is just five songs in fifteen minutes. Five songs perfectly placed and executed, there is nothing superfluous and nothing lacking.

Troubled, Shaken Etc.

British rock band Sian Alice Group’s latest effort can be categorized somewhere between prog rock, ambient folk, and experimental. Clocking in anywhere between two and eight minutes, their songs wind around and bump up against one another, creating a cohesive sophomore album.

A Ways Away

I think I’m genetically predisposed to rock; it’s in my blood or something. I want things to be loud, sometimes fast, and always frantic. I like it when a bass line’s so fat you can feel it in your crotch. I like it when guitars rip through your eardrums. I especially like it when a drum beat is so loud you can mistake it for your own pulse.


Meridians is a very “new age” title for an album. You may hear the word “meridians” all the time without knowing what it means, and when you look it up, you still don’t. You know it’s about circles and zeniths and acupuncture references to the body’s pathways to energy—but can you use it in a sentence? When I worked at a record store (yes, a record store) in the '90s, we had an entire new age section.

Over Air

One can safely assume that any band that names itself after the main character in Franz Kafka's “The Metamorphosis” is going to be interesting, to say the least. It would not be safe to assume, however, that the music made by Gregor Samsa feels as overwhelmed and ugly as Kafka's evolving man-creature. On the contrary, their creation is a precise tranquil poetry, twinkling and shivering like streetlights on snow.  With eight current members and thirteen past contributors, this mega-group from Richmond, Virginia is bursting at the seams with folks ready to make a joyful noise.

Fabric 40

Mark Farina, a San Francisco-based DJ, is a mainstay on the electronic scene. What began as an exploration of the house genre has now become Farina’s inimitable musical echo. The globetrotting performer is known for his genre versatility, but also his distinctive cocktail of Chicago urban, jazzy reverberation with San Francisco sound. While he’s also known for his down tempo grooves, Fabric 40 is nothing of the sort.

Canon / Verses

Being an Ani DiFranco fan has been a part of pretty much every feminist’s rite of passage since she came on the scene in the early ‘90s with the release of her self-titled album. Now seventeen years, two DVDs, and nearly thirty albums (including remixes, tributes, and live discs) later, DiFranco has simultaneously released a retrospective double-CD and book of poetry that show just how much she has grown personally, politically, and artistically.

Shades of a Vast Moment

The album is a melodic tale of sorrow, a search for meaning within the circle of life. It is mixture of ambient, lounge-y, jazzy tunes, which flow like a stream of water from beginning to end. The first song, “Inner Out,” could be the music score for an off-Broadway play. It lends itself to abstract visual interpretations, casting shadows moving through sound. The dark and eerie voices are akin to Sinead O’Connor’s lamenting voice. With lines such as “life sleeps with agony, and ashes came right through the dead part of you” the songs are solemn contemplations.