Arborea Top 10
Mem1 Top 10

Cory Allen
Bio / Larkian / Autistes
Black Swan
James Brewster
C.H. District
Crazy Penis
Robert Crouch
Demdike Stare
Cezary Gapik
Ron Geesin
G. Night & G. Morning
Tim Hecker
Hole Punch Generation
Hopeless Local M. Band
E. De Jesus / Minus Pilots
Saito Koji
Little Fritter
Sam Moss
Dustin O'Halloran
Phillips / Hesse-Honegger
Maceo Plex
Pietro Riparbelli
Daniel Steinberg
Colin Stetson
Subtle Lip Can
Tapage & Meander
Robert Scott Thompson
Simon Whetham

Compilations / Mixes
DJ Bone
Pop Ambient 2011
Silence Was Warm Vol. 3
Superlongevity 5
v-p v-f is v-n

Benoit & Sergio
Mark Bradley
Ragle Gumm
Tevo Howard
Isnaj Dui
Clem Leek
Luv Jam
offthesky & Ten and Tracer
Sleeps In Oysters
Nobuto Suda
Totem Test
Morgan Zarate

VA: The Silence Was Warm Vol. 3
Symbolic Interaction

Compiled by Kentaro Togawa, the third volume in The Silence Was Warm series presents another splendid collection of tracks from Symbolic Interaction, with the contributions shared between Japanese and Western producers and many of them familiar as roster artists of Symbolic Interaction or of Schole, U-cover, Hibernate, Hefty, and others. We're told that the volume's theme is “rebuild,” though in what exact way the release symbolizes rebuilding isn't clarified; what is clear, however, is the stylistic diversity of its contents and the generally restrained tone of the material.

That mellow quality is especially evident during the first half. Melodium's “Ritournelle” sets the mood with a melancholy electronica setting that evokes the pastoral French countryside, and a peacefulness also characterizes Hakobune's shimmering ambient setting “Shimokume,” Hessien's electro-acoustic meditation “Falling Down Around Us,” and Konntinent's piano-and-electronics rumination “Caster.” Teruyuki Nobuchika's “A Day” augments pretty piano playing with field recording sounds and subtle electronic enhancements, while “Rusak” provides another sterling example of Talvihorros's artistry, this one a meditative setting of fluctuating tempo featuring acoustic guitar picking against a blurry backdrop of treated electric guitars and war-torn atmospheres. Taishin Inoue's “Dystopian Air Castle” title is well-chosen as the piece unfolds as a particularly sombre exemplar of deep ambient soundscaping. Even when the material veers into post-rock, as it does during The 2nd Colony's “Yarn,” the approach is more graceful and melancholic than hell-raising.

Comparatively speaking, the activity level heats up a bit more during the second half and the stylistic range broadens too by including drone (Line Spectra's ten-minute interplanetary sojourn “III”), IDM-electronica (Amorph's “Waves,” Maps And Diagrams' “A View From Below,” Set In Sand's “Relax on a Deeper Level”), and even a smattering of dubstep (the wiry funk and beat crunch of Ard Bit's “Tois,” which adds a welcome harder edge to the compilation). With icy winds blowing across its pulsating beats and acidy synthesizer patterns,'s “We've Seen Things Hit Jupiter Before” lives up to its title; smothered in wind and hiss as well is Yu Miyashita's ambient electronica setting “Telomere Stop.” Standouts include thisquietarmy's (Montreal-based Eric Quach) “Sunday Regenerating,” a beautifully modulated setting of ghostly, guitar-generated ambient-drone drift, and The Hopeless Local Marching Band's guitar-heavy closer “And the Man Cannot Describe Himself.” The Silence Was Warm Vol. 3 will appeal to Symbolic Interaction devotees, of course, but it's also wide-ranging enough to satisfy adventurous listeners of the general kind. One hundred minutes of new material from the Symbolic Interaction camp is always welcome, but never more so than when it's timed to help one survive the icy winter chill.

February 2011