V/A ~ Anthology of Experimental Music from Mexico

a closer listen

There is a certain narrative emerging from the excellent Anthologies being curated by Unexplained Sounds Group, in which the world outside the so-called global north is a place full of traditions and interactions beyond the commonalities in a genre like experimental music, whose definition is, however useful to us writers, vague and loose. The places where those commonalities are most prominent – say, a disruption of tonality, or an exploratory take on sound phenomena – become representative of a “globalized” or “universal” setting, whereas those places in which musicians veer slightly off-course become interesting*. These rationalist/romantic categories have been at the core of discussions related to modernism for a couple centuries now, and one of the shapes it is expressed through is a conceptual tension between “progress and tradition”, as the liner notes to this Anthology put it. They describe Mexico as such a place, divided between two…

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Mastering to Cassette Tape

Most read article!

Sonologyst - Mixing & Mastering

An interesting article by L-Rox about mastering to cassette tape.

Beyond the Nostalgia

The anatomy of the Compact Cassette Tape

I grew up listening to vinyl and cassettes; I’m not that old, but growing up all we had was vinyl and cassettes to listen to. The first time I recorded anything, it was on cassette. I remember my dad letting me use his Hi-fi to tape some of our vinyl records and things from the radio when I was a child and when I grew up and wanted to record some music with friends, we all pitched in and bought a 4-track cassette portastudio. After bouncing tape tracks on that, and using one of the tracks to print timecode so it could trigger playback on my sampler, the mixdown went to another (stereo) cassette deck. That’s really when I became interested in getting the best sonic fidelity from cassette tape.

So why go back to using cassettes?…

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Various Artists – Anthology of Post-Industrial Music from Balkan Region

Santa Sangre

[Reviewed by Psymon Marshall]

Given that it’s only been thirty years since the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent breaking away of former satellite and client states, this anthology of the explorations of sonic artists from the Balkan region of south-east Europe represents an appropriate opportunity to explore how the influence of Communist (and repressive) Soviet culture created a particular approach to the making of music, particularly in terms of the industrial genre. Back in the early 90s when I ran an industrial music ‘zine I used to get a smattering of releases from Russian acts, and it would be fair to define the parameters of their output tended to be on the harsher, noisier side of the spectrum, in a sense the sound equivalent of Brutalist architecture. Even then I wondered whether this was a reflection of Eastern European culture as we understood it then (given how…

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SP* Episode 10: EXPLAINED SOUNDS – with Raffaele Pezzella [podcast]

a closer listen

Many of our readers responded enthusiastically to the Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese music compiled by the Unexplained Sounds Group in 2018. Earlier this year, I reached out to label founder Raffaele Pezzella (Sonolygyst) to discuss his label, his radio show, his solo work, and why he keeps digging for unheard artists.

We had a great chat, discussing his interest in dark ambient, conspiracy theories, and the technical pursuit of sound. I am also really into this playlist, if I don’t say so myself. (You can hear the mix without the interview and vocal fades if you support this project on our Patreon.)


Sound Propositions should be available wherever you get your podcasts, so please keep an eye out and subscribe (and rate and review, it helps others who might be interested find us). New episodes will be published every two weeks (more or…

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Mario Lino Stancati – Cross the Desert

Head-Banger Reviews

We’ve all come across artists of many different kinds of styles that consider themselves the highest level that an artist could be as they consider themselves auteurs and other fancy terms. Very smarmy pricks that make you hate the word “artist”, but every now and then there comes someone who brings glory to being called a true artist. Tonight for me that came in the form of the latest album from Mario Lino Stancati who challenges both himself and the listener with material that is constantly changing on every level.

You could very easily just label this work as a primarily ambient work like I’m doing just to make things easier on myself, but there is so much fucking more to this album that it’s a little nuts. Mario Lino Stancati fully-embraces the idea of genre-hopping to a great degree but it’s all incorporated into a roughly ambient form such…

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Unexplained Sounds Group – Anthology Of Contemporary Music From Indonesia

Head-Banger Reviews

If you know anything about any sort of world music that’s been making its way across the internet especially with the help of Bandcamp, you’ve more than likely come across the curated compilations made by the people from Unexplained Sounds Group. Thus far, they’ve covered ambient and traditional music from cultures all across the world like Africa and many regions across the Middle East. They’re wonderful studies into the traditional music of the cultures there as well as an exploration of their works that fall into ambiance or any of its contemporary sounds. Indonesia is where the latest excursion of music has taken place, and it’s possibly the most interesting one to date.

Indonesia had a history that’s as amazingly rich as it is tragic given how far back the very history of the different cultures on the islands goes back as well as how far back foreign visitors have…

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Sonologyst – Ancient Death Cults and Beliefs

Head-Banger Reviews

If you’re going to want to listen to any sort ambient, it’s really best to just stop trying to find a new act and, instead, go to someone who has been doing it for so long and has knowledge of it in spades, for that’s when you get the best material. I’m not sure how long Sonologyst has been around, but with it consisting of the man behind Eighth Tower Records, Unexplained Sounds Group and the newly made labels of Big Cypress Swamp and ZeroK, is there really any doubt that this man knows his shit? With what seems to be one new album every year, this album is the entry for 2020 and it’s far from anything to be considered lightweight.

Just labeling this album as ambient and nothing else would be to disservice everything that’s at play throughout these tracks as Sonologyst can really work his dark magic…

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Various Artists – Drone Islands – The Lost Maps

Santa Sangre

[Reviewed by stark]

After “Occult Realm” this is the second compilation curated by Raffaele Pezzella in 2020. This time it’s the second installment of the “Drone Islands” series. Last year, Raffaele’s flagship (along with Unexplained Sounds Group) label, Eighth Tower Records has offered “Drone Islands – Land Rising” to all the drone maniacs and it hasn’t even been a year when we got a follow-up, entitled “The Lost Maps.”

The line-up is more than interesting as within more than an hour we have the opportunity to check the new track of experienced drone/experimental wolves, the younger but already respected ones and a group of debutants, the anonymous projects having a chance to present their music to a broader audience.

But it is one of those oldtimers who opens the compilation. Lately I came to a conclusion that Rapoon is probably one of my favourite artists ever. That fact wasn’t that…

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Head-Banger Reviews

It was ever since I was a kid when I was first terrified by Alien and became absolutely enamored by Jeffrey Thomas’s sci-fi masterpiece “Blue War” that I have been a big fan of that highly detailed science fiction that’s only done true justice on occasion. Even less often is when an act of any style can put together a listening experience the likes of which gives nothing but true glory to the entire genre of science fiction. It’s really only been Progenie Terrestre Pura and Mesarthim that have been able to do it justice, but even then there’s so much more to tap into. As if to answer my very desires, with this brand new work of some of the deepest ambient I’ve ever heard that HLER brings forth an experience I won’t soon forget.

Ambient has long been a thing that I only dip my toe into simply…

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Eighth Tower Records – Drone Islands – The Lost Maps

Head-Banger Reviews

There have been plenty of times that I’ve dove into the world of drone and found loads of enjoyment out of the strangely meditative works that are in a world all of their own every time they’re played. One of the best examples that I’ve seen that really brought the style to a new level of understanding for me was the first issue of “Drone Islands” with “Land Raising” a little over a year ago, and now it’s with “The Lost Maps” that the bar has been raised for me just a little yet again.

The beauty of compilations like these is simply how minimal they are as they’re like many other compilations: just bringing together a whole bunch of different artists doing a similar sound and calling it a compilation. But, if it’s a good selection it can become a real tour of what the style has to bring…

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