Spotlight 15
Favourite Labels 2014

Poppy Ackroyd + Lumen
Avec le soleil sortant ...
Brooklyn Rider
Del Sol String Quartet
Nick Gill
Stefan Goldmann
Chihei Hatakeyama
Robert Honstein
Jonas Kopp
David Lackner
Last Ex
Neil Leonard
Little Phrase
The Mark Lomax Trio
LA Percussion Quartet
Near The Parenthesis
Newman and Cox
Pan & Me
Bobby Previte
Marc Sabat
Hein Schoer
Wadada Leo Smith
Templeton + Armstrong
Ken Thomson
Ulterior Motive
Joris Voorn
Andrew Weathers
Ezra Weiss Sextet
Stefan Wesolowski
Keith Worthy

Compilations / Mixes
EPM Selected Vol. 3
Universal Quantifier

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Blu Mar Ten
Michael Jon Fink
Oceanic Triangulation
Northumbria and Famine
Total Science
Simon Whetham

Northumbria and Famine: Blood Orchid
Cathedral Transmissions

On Blood Orchid, Toronto/Northumberland-based ambient metal duo Northumbria (Jim Field and Dorian Williamson) join forces with fellow Canadian and dark ambient alchemist Famine (audio professional Marty Famine, currently based in Winnipeg). Who's exactly playing what on the sixteen-minute dronescape, which the UK-based Cathedral Transmissions label has issued as a three-inch CDR in a fifty-copy run, isn't clarified, though Northumbria's previous releases have centered on amplified guitar and bass playing. It takes less than a minute for Blood Orchid to establish its own haunted soundworld, after which the material works its way steadily through several related episodes. Shards of guitar pierce a disease-plagued fog, while deathly percussive pounds signal the imminent arrival of some terrifying presence. As the smoldering mass groans in seeming agony, Blood Orchid plays as if a portal to some horrific supernatural realm has been opened, thereby allowing all manner of cancer to spread. Oppressive, suffocating, and claustrophobic, the disc's infected material makes the average dark ambient recording sound like easy listening by comparison.

November 2014