You'll see from the title of his quirky album that QuarterBIT, a talented cove from sultry Barcelona, has loosed his floe of ambient on the icy waters of the internet without so much as a glance at his spell-checker. Ah me. You should know by now that free music can't afford sub-editors. Besides, this is the internet; anyone can make a tipo typo.
There's not much point in listening to this on your daily commute unless you have high-quality noise-cancelling headphones. The Antartica Files is a pure ambient album, by which I mean that it's all field recordings, so it'll get bullied by extraneous real-life ambient sounds like planes, trains and automobiles. And other John Hughes films.
Hey, where do you think you're going? Come back here, buster. Listen up. I know it's ambient. I know it won't make your rump do the rumba. Nevertheless, if you're feeling a bit jaded about music or you love sounds for their own sake, try one track - then I'll let you go. As you'll hear, there are few more beautiful sounds in this world than church bells, especially the deep, round, full chimes that appear towards the end of Church. Lovely.
Just about the only track here that sounds overtly manipulated is Harbor Harmonic, where seagulls compete to see whose mournful screams sound most like a mellow Eddie Van Halen. It's either a marvellous layering of different recordings, some tasteful pitch automation, or Hitchcock was right and the birds are up to something.
This being ambient,
there's an obligatory inclusion of crashing waves. Most ambient beach
recordings tend to concentrate on the higher frequencies; not so in
Antarctica Surf (correct spelling!), where you'll feel the
weight of hundreds of tons of ice-cold water pound a pebbly shore.
Parade features some jolly car horns and a trad jazz band that will go in your right ear and out your left like a hot knife through ICan'tBelieveMyGreyMatterIsSoPliable Butter.
A female relative of mine (who has dropped a couple of ankle-biters) says this type of album is good for someone who is with child. Perhaps she's right. Mind you, I think she was listening to something a bit more vigorous a few months earlier.
There are so many details here that will tickle the tired ear: a motorboat that sounds like a wallowing warthog; a droning fly; snatches of conversation; footfalls; querulous sheep, a clanking gate (a nice way to end the track Sheep); and water, water, everywhere, be it running water (At The Glacier), lapping waves & bubbling streams (The Ice Island) or churning, frothy pools (The Waterfall).
I hope the above verbiage gives you an idea of what to expect. I suggest you find a quiet corner, press “play” and let the magic of audio transport you to everyday but wondrous places around the world. If you need more of the same, stick your head out of a window and listen anew.
There will be some strange people out there who insist that music should include esoteric things like instruments, notes, melodies and rhythms. Yeah, I know; weird. Still, CTW is a fat broad church so I've done something startling and included a second album for your delectation.
This classy compilation of burgeoning ambient artists is the most recent product from the same label, PublicSpaces Lab, that released The Antartica Files. As this is not a proper album review, it's fitting that the album is named Ceci n'est pas une pipe. The sound quality is excellent throughout, there are some winning tracks lodged between the plethora of ambient sounds and drones, and four dimensions (time & space) and the truth (laziness) are forcing me to cut this review far too short.
Somio has pulled a flanker with San Feliz, a track inspired by numerous sojourns to northern Spain. It's far too upbeat, cheery and hip to be described as ambient. But we won't complain, will we?
And despite lettering that's driving my Anglo-Saxon keyboard round the bend, Løser's Núr is definitely worth a listen. The unimportant stuff: drones, trip-hop, ethereal vocals, camera noises. The important stuff: it's good. If you like ambient-ish downtempo grooves with a dash of electronica, this'll be your pint of porter.
Not bad, hmm? Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe also comes with an excellent booklet that gives lots of information about the contributing artists, including one QuarterBIT. And that's it. C'est tout. Run along, gang. You might get some music next time.