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Exclusive: Billow Observatory Album

Posted by Jakub



We are really proud to be sharing such a lush album with you guys this weekend from Billow Observatory. I finally was able to sit all the way thru it today and it really came together as one of the most cohesive albums of the year. The sound is submerged in Loscil like drones but every so often you feel like everything comes up for air.

Time. It all comes back to time.

The self-titled debut album from Billow Observatory — the duo comprising Danish producer Jonas Munk, aka Manual, and Auburn Lull guitarist Jason Kolb — is a record that has been nearly a decade in the making, and a record that unfolds at a stately, unhurried pace, its subtleties revealing themselves with repeated listening. Its sound reflects its creators’ diverse backgrounds — Kolb’s ambient guitar work, along with Munk’s experience in film music and the minutiae of sound engineering — as well as their patience and devotion to their craft.

The genesis of Billow Observatory came in summer 2004, when Munk was first introduced to Kolb’s work with Auburn Lull. A split EP between Manual and Auburn Lull was mooted, and although this didn’t materialize, the duo began exchanging ideas and audio files, finally meeting in person during 2007 when they played a show together in Michigan.

As time passed, their work began to coalesce into what would become Billow Observatory — as Munk says, “We never expected to be working on material for six years, but something very exciting took shape as soon as we started working together and we had to follow that idea to the end.” The process of following that idea was slow and deliberate, one that required meticulous attention to detail and nuance. The resultant album is the work of two musicians at the top of their game, pouring years of experience and expertise into the creation of a record where every sound is there for a reason.

Munk adds, “The basis for most of this material comes from guitars and effects devices but every bit has been processed and treated with software… I didn’t use a lot of different effects – the focus on my part has been on shaping each bit of sound to perfection, still maintaining the character of a guitar but turning it into something that doesn’t sound ‘played’. I think of a lot of this material as sounding as if it comes from surroundings rather than from hands touching instruments.”

The music the duo have created is immersive and somehow timeless, evoking places and ambiences as exotic as some of those that give the songs their names. “I remember we would sometimes ask each other questions about random places with interesting names that we thought the other person would know something interesting about,” Kolb explains. “I would ask Jonas about the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, or something in that general area of the world and he would ask something similar about Michigan or the Great Lakes. I think we were influenced by the idea of creating music that told vague, semi-fictitious histories of places we knew very little about.”

In an age where we race from one instant to the next, never stopping to think about the moment we’re inhabiting, Billow Observatory is a record that rewards patience and, yes, time. “[The album] is dense with emotion and meticulously crafted,” says Munk, “while feeling light and airy when listening to the song as a whole. I have had this album for over a year and it still withstands the test of time.”

ISO50 Pop Up Shop: San Francisco Tonight

Posted by Jakub


Today, we will have the ISO50 pop shop open for ONE DAY ONLY at the official Nightlife pre-Treasure Island party at the California Academy of Sciences. We will have a merch booth with all new and classic posters and shirts available and Scott will be there to sign and hang out.

NightLife takes place Thursday nights (6-10pm) at the California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
More information here.

SHIGETO LIVE

Also, there will be a special live performance by Shigeto and a DJ set by me Jakub aka Heathered Pearls. Hope to see you at 6pm, ticket info here.

HEATHERED PEARLS MIX

ISO50 Exclusive: New Teen Daze Single

Posted by Jakub



Our friend Jamison is putting out his album “The Inner Mansions“on November 6, 2012, on Lefse Records. He let us share an exclusive track and video for our readers. What I love about is he keeps the beauty of an expanding ambient track and adds vox and instruments that doesn’t take away from that base.

Pre-order the album here

ISO50: Soundcloud Who To Follow Guide: #3

Posted by Jakub

I see even bigger things happening for Soundcloud in the future, mainly the community within it coming closer so I decide to start a guide of people to follow if you like what’s on ISO50. Below I started off with frequent users that make your feed more enjoyable with quality posts.

This week we start off with San Francisco locals and good friends Yourstru.ly who are one of my favorites to follow on Soundcloud, they have plenty of material and are always actively finding and sharing new artists. Moderna has a growing collection of short mixes that always are perfect for weekend nights, making her someone to see if you’re in LA. Since astrangelyisolatedplace started their label they are one of the higher quality labels in the ambient world, recently they got to share a new Markus Guentner EP with the world which is undeniably lush and perfect.

ISO50 Blog on SOUNDCLOUD

FRIENDS: Yourstru.ly

DJ: Moderna

RECORD LABEL: astrangelyisolatedplace

ISO50: Soundcloud Who To Follow Guide: #2

Posted by Jakub


I see even bigger things happening for Soundcloud in the future, mainly the community within it coming closer so I decide to start a guide of people to follow if you like what’s on ISO50. Below I started off with frequent users that make your feed more enjoyable with quality posts.

This week we start with Carpark Records, a classic indie label that gave us Toro Y Moi, Casino Versus Japan and Animal Collective. I added Fact Magazine since they’re one of my few windows into a proper representation of what is going on in the UK. I’ve only featured LA’s MONO/POLY once, has a great ear and has some synth magic put together over some quality beat work, i’m excited to hear more.

ISO50 Blog on SOUNDCLOUD


RECORD LABEL: CARPARK RECORDS


MAGAZINE: FACT MAGAZINE


ARTIST: MONO/POLY

Exclusive: Nitemoves Longlines Stream

Posted by Jakub



So if you’ve seen a Tycho or Com Truise live show you might have noticed they have the same drummer, that drummer Rory O’Connor just released his album tonight under the alias Nitemoves, feel free to stream the album above and download the free single Challenger.

Nitemoves is the electronic guise and internet handle of musician/sound designer Rory O’Connor. While supporting other electronic artists as a drummer (Tycho, Com Truise), O’Connor quietly composed his debut release, ‘Longlines’, in 3-6 hour chunks occupying the back seat of a moving car.

Championing influence from Satie, Jenkinson, & Corgan, the work was composed with the whole in mind, rather than a collection of isolated microcosms. It is a conscious endeavor in variety and continuity, attempting to bridge the gap between influences that have a tendency to contradict each other.

Written amid a period of introspection and wanderlust, it reinstalls the idea of the folk musician: traveling the country while funneling inspiration from all directions in an attempt to tell a story, to paint a picture of time passing. The title itself reflects an exercise in patience, constructing populations of simple melodies and rhythms, permitting them time to grow alongside each other and form complex relationships.

Guest Music Post: Beacon

Posted by Jakub


Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

If you saw Tycho on tour last time in the US you saw our ambient R&B support Jacob & Tom of Beacon, I asked them to put together today’s playlist, would love some feedback, their No Body EP is out, they DJ tomorrow with Yeasayers at Cameo Gallery

Keyboard Kid$$$$$$
Producers without their counterparts have been dominating my speaker time lately. $$$$$$ off Keyboard Kids 2011 Video Games and Blunts mixtape is a stellar track full of his signature futuristic synths and dirt filled percussion. The chopped and pitched repetitive hook always seems to swell around in my head long after it finishes.

FilterwolfNocturne (Bodycode aka Portable remix)
I’ve been listening to so much Alan Abrahams AKA Portable AKA Bodycode lately. I love the way his baritone vocal harmonies in this remix become the warmest incantations, summoning love from some wandering spirit.

AyatohollaNAG Champa
This throwback keeps making it into my steady rotation. NAG Champa , the opening track off of Ayatoholla’s 2006 Now Playing, drops all the right sounds in all the right places. Its one of those loops I want to listen to for hours. With a perfect blend of soulful vocal samples, smooth drum work and swells of melodic strings its an example of a producer who gives only what is needed.

Blood OrangeChampagne Coast
The really special thing about this Blood Orange song is the way the slow funk groove in the beginning eventually opens into very triumphant love song of Koto patterns, warm synths and Devonte’s insistent vocal finish.