Review: Amongst ambient aficionados, obscure 1980s outfit The Chi Factory - a collaboration between Jacobus Derwort and Hanyo van Oosterom - has a cult following. While the duo went their separate ways in 1987, Derwort continued to work on tracks, which fused field recordings taken in far-flung locations around the world, with indigenous instrumentation and his innate ability to craft mood-altering soundscapes. The Bamboo Recordings offers the first chance to savour those previously unheard mid-to-late-80s tracks; while they've been remixed for release, they remain as trippy, inspired and intoxicating as you'd expect. Akin to a humid saunter through thick Mangrove swamps, the album feels like a long lost, tropical partner to The KLF's Chill Out.
Review: Producing and playing under Chymera for more than 15 years, Brendan Gregoriy's distinctive take on house and techno has seen him play at iconic venues like Panorama Bar, Womb, Output, and Rex Club, and release music on respected labels including Ovum, NRK, Delsin and Cocoon. 2016 sees Brendan take on a new alias, Merrin Karras. Inspired by the sounds of artists like Klaus Schulze, Biosphere and Abul Mogard, and finding renewed focus in creating without external pressures or deadlines, Gregoriy's ambient experimentation emerged, fully-formed, as Merrin Karras. His debut album under this moniker, Apex, was written and recorded in two Berlin winters, it's a record driven by a widescreen contrast between celestial beauty and engulfing black hole intent. Flawlessly produced, Vangelis panorama and vintage sci-fi exist in a space where drums and rhythmic elements have been willfully stripped out - and where the synths can truly breathe.
Review: Like many of his contemporaries, US producer Huerco S usually deals in wavy, trembling house amalgams, but also often deals in all things ambient and beatless. This new LP on Anthony Naples' Proibito, however, is a marked step in a different direction from the artist, and it shows us that he's more talented at the genre than merely a B2 stuck on at the end of a techno deviation. For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) is a stunning ambient album; each track across its duration is filled with life and purpose, a clear musical and expressive direction that many so-called ambient artists lack. It's likely to be remembered for a long time, and allow this artist to be seen as having a truly experimental mindset.
Review: Roh!s Records is a Sardinian record label based in Berlin, founded by Andrea Porcu in late 2007. Between 2007 and 2016 the label moved to different countries such as Belgium. They offer a much needed re-issue of Tetsuya Nakamura aka Arc Of Doves' 2014 album "Never Let Me Go" which features emotive piano lines gently floating triumphantly above sharp breakbeats and providing a wonderful contrast. On the flip "Wish You Were Here" is more sombre and mellow, showcasing more of Nakamura's expressive piano skills.
Review: Haunting and dub-laden dark ambient excursions into the abyss courtesy of Danny Kreutzfeldt aka Periskop for Swedish imprint Kabalion, a sublabel of Hypnus. Kreutzfeldt has released steadily on his own eponymous imprint since 2007 but finds a fitting home on this release; the label having previously released soundscapes by the likes of Claudio PRC & Dubit, Antonio Ruscito and Yuka. After the chilling, textural and spatial noise experiments of A side cuts "North I" and "North II" (the latter injecting more of a pulse amidst all the suspense and despair) the B sides could be considered more functional like on the deep techno of "North III" which calls to mind the noisy dancefloor experiments of Avian. What more can we say: welcome to the North!
Review: Solar One co-founder Robert Witschakowski has spent much of the past few years delivering "re-wired electro" as The Exaltics. Here, he changes tack, joining forces with fellow Solar One co-founder Nico Jagiella to re-launch the Crotaphytus project last seen back in 2010. Acanthosaura blends material inspired by the duo's love of soundtracks - think dark, moody ambience smothered in humid field recordings and the paranoid crackle of short wave radio - with similarly creepy electro, acid-tinged new wave chuggers, and trippy, experimental soundscapes. It's hardly a barrel of laughs, as you might expect, but it's certainly engaging, hugely enjoyable, and immaculately produced.