Tag Archives: lo-fi

Neil Milton – white spring, black cloud

It is a long-established custom in many cultures to bestow gifts upon a person celebrating a birthday. We do this, in part, to celebrate that those close to us are still here, to thank them for being part of our lives. To celebrate a birthday with gifts, no matter what form they take, is to perhaps recognise the gift that we all share.

Neil Milton celebrated his birthday on the 14th March, and in the quintessentially reciprocal nature of art itself, gifted his new EP – white spring, black cloud – which is currently available to download for free at Bandcamp, via Valentine Records.

You may remember the last release from Neil Milton that I spoke about here, Elements, and the journey I took with that. While there are a few familiar things at play in this four-track EP, the environment has shifted its focus a little – or rather, it has come a little closer. Instead of staring out at it through the window of a moving train, the window is open and the world has decided to get a little up close and personal.

Using field recordings, subtle electronica and other sounds, such as what has been called “pseudo-random sine waves and output from shortwave radio“, white spring, black cloud starts by opening a door. As we walk through, we hear our footsetps echo and our keys jangle, maybe we are home. With the track titled ennui, maybe we need to be.

On 314, the atmosphere feels like it’s swelling and enveloping (which is distinct from closing in), shifting around space until it almost pierces through it rather than simply encompass it. As 314 draws to a close, a light electronic melody appears, which sounds almost like fragments gathering.

biała wiosna, czarna chmura follows, and perhaps shares the most with the delicately moving, modern classical sounds on Elements. A cello and a piano duet, it feels like it has captured a moment before movement and decision. I think the best way for me to describe it is if you have ever had that moment of brief suspension, standing at the doorway to a room that was once occupied by someone else. Even though it’s no longer their room, their presence lingers and you’re still not sure if you can go in and make that room yours in some way. To me, it feels like that moment before saying to yourself, ‘no, not yet‘.

The final track, variations on ‘radio music’ by john cage, simulates the turn of a radio dial, snippets of voice and song peering through the static.

I wonder if it is perhaps an exploration of the same moment in time, from different aspects and perspectives. The shift of the dial, the quiet search, the fragments gathering, the air swelling and the door opening – these things happen over time, and in the blink of an eye.


PS S4E extends (belated – at least from here in Oz!) birthday wishes to Neil.


Dark & Darker

“…like a whisper taking you back to the dark part of your memory and dreams…”

That’s the self-described music of Opium Dream Estate, a musical project founded in 2006 by Sébastyén D. I recently chanced upon the EP Through the White Landscape, which was released back in August over on Bandcamp. Gentle and haunting, perhaps a little bit like Rivulets meets Boduf Songs with a decidedly French  shoegaze feel. The EP is currently available as a free download and well worth checking out if you like the sound of ambient, gothic neofolk. You can also take a listen to any or all of ODE’s  four previous releases – Estranged Memories, Anamorphosis, Spira Spiritum Noctis and Alpha/Omega.

Sébastyén D runs the label Seventh Crow Records, which has a few other releases on Bandcamp at the moment also for free download –  a various artists compilation titled The Haunted Looking Glass; a 12-track album released on 4th November by Art of Empathy called Posthuman Decadence, another Sébastyén D project called Orchid’s Children with Last Days of Decadence and Hourglass & Waterlillies – all of which are tagged with ethereal, goth, ambient, indie, industrial and neofolk.

Only The Tress Remember is the first of 6 tracks on the release.



More dark Bandcamp-ery with this fairly recent self-titled release by SIΔMESE NOIR. There seems to be pretty limited info out there at the moment in regards to this project, which could well be the point, all I can turn up is “New York based solo project”.

The symbol in the name generally seems to indicate “witch house” these days, and I suppose it’s fairly accurate. I say suppose merely because I haven’t made much of an effort to overly familiarise myself with the genre, but I will say the more I hear of it the more I become convinced it’s actually a new name rather than a new genre. Anywho, that’s beside the point, this music is of the eerily-slow-motion type – think Chinese water torture in a haunted room that has a creepy looking kid with black eyes playing trip-hop at drone-speed and in weird loops… Translate that, if you can, into sound and you’d be in the ball park. At night.

You might be a little unsettled, but you’ll be compelled to stay. You can download it for free here.

In Quiet is the first of 5 tracks on the release.


The Band In Heaven – Free Demos


A while back I posted about Irish duo Low Sea, and if you dug that chances are highyou’ll find plenty to like in the 5-track demo by Florida’s the band in Heaven, who elsewhere have been likened to just about every staple shoegazer you can think of; for good enough reason, though… It’s not hard for bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain to spring to mind when you first take a listen – distant and dreamy female backing vocals, steady drive drenched in reverb, fuzz and distortion – on paper you might think it’s a recipe for heard it all before.

In practice, though, and garnished with some of psych, the songs offer plenty enough to stand on their own merit. Considering they’re 4 demos and one cover (CranberriesDreams), there’s definitely potential for these guys to become your new favourite dream-fuzz lo-fi noise-makers.

Check out Summer Bummer for proof, which would be my favourite track – there’s some neat psych-post-punk sounds layered in that one. Tagged as a ‘rough’ demo, but I like it pretty well fine as is.

All 5 tracks are currently on offer as a free download here.