2009 Ten Favourite Labels
Simon Scott's Navigare
Traxx's 10 Chicago Tracks

Matt Bartram
Bell Horses
Broadcast & Focus Group
Angus Carlyle
Ytre Rymden Dansskola
Do Make Say Think
Isnaj Dui
Shane Fahey
Jan Garbarek Group
Lisa Germano
Rachel Grimes
Christopher Jion
P Jørgensen
Leyland Kirby
Elisa Luu
Mountain Ocean Sun
Marcello Napoletano
Andy Nice
Rameses III
Sankt Otten
Danny Saul
Simon Scott
Sleep Whale
Susanna & Magical Orch.
Claude VonStroke

Compilations / Mixes
Favourite Places 2
Music For Mathematics
Snuggle & Slap
Sander Kleinenberg 2

DJ Bone
DJ Nasty
Duque and Baxter
Ghenacia & Djebali
Kez YM
King Roc
Vadim Lankov
Lavender Ticklesoft
Lo-Fi Soundsystem
Niko Marks
Mark Templeton

Rameses III: I Could Not Love You More
Type Records

In 2006, London-based trio Rameses III (keyboardist Daniel Freeman and guitarists Spencer Grady and Steve Lewis) teamed up with The North Sea (Brad Rose) to create Night of the Ankou, a marvelous collection of drone-based music, so marvelous in fact that it secured the number thirteen slot on textura's year-end list of best albums. I Could Not Love You More, Rameses III's Type Recordings follow-up to that collaboration, shifts the focus slightly in the direction of pastoral dronescaping but ends up making just as powerful an impression as the earlier set.

Subtly coloured by field recording touches and imbued with nostalgic calm, the album's seven settings take the listener on a ravishing hour-long journey of generally peaceful and spacious character. “We Shall Never Sing of Sorrow” enters on a slow-motion wave of electric guitar strums and monotone choir voices that grows ever denser with the addition of a mellotron's flute-like tones. It's a drone, yes, but one that's remarkably full, rich, and, most importantly, warm (much of that due to the trio's preference for the acoustic and analog timbres of guitars, electric piano, and mellotron). The sound mass then strips down to electric piano only as it moves into the even more peaceful “Across the Lake is Where My Heart Shines,” where horn-like chords punctuate the gentle lilt established by acoustic guitars. “Cloud Kings” is as majestic and vaporous as the title promises, while “No Water, No Moon” moves Rameses III's sound even deeper into country territory by overlaying an ambient cloud with swooping steel guitar flourishes, acoustic strums, and the bright fingerpicking of a banjo (or ukulele); adding to the bucolic ambiance are field recordings of the seaside, with water and seagull sounds evoking childhood summers at the beach. Delicate electric guitar playing lends “The Kindness In Letting Go” a soft glow that brings a tranquility to the song, after which the title piece blurs overlapping layers of instrument sounds into a nebulous mass that's time-suspending in the extreme.

The album's blissed-out material is polished—which doesn't mean drained of life but simply refined, the product of meticulous production and careful consideration. I Could Not Love You More 's impact doesn't come from bludgeoning the listener with extreme dynamic contrasts but from the cumulative impression left by its sultry dronescaping. The group's pastoral sound frequently envelops the listener in a soothing bath of harmonious shimmer, and one surrenders to the music's intoxicating pull without reservation or hesitation.

November 2009