Sunday, March 17, 2013

12k Sampler 002 - Minimalist Music Sampler

In case that title's a bit too obscure for you, 12k is a music label specializing in ambient and minimalist music and Sampler 002 is a nicely priced, 12-song CD representing several of their artists. Given my recent success with free and/or low-cost compilations it didn't take much to get me to shell out $6 for this disc. Also, my good experience with Kane Ikin's Sublunar made me want to learn more about this label.

Here are brief impressions of each track. Keep in mind that describing music is hard enough, but ambience takes a vocabulary that I lack (as you shall see).
  1. The Ballad of Failure by The Boats - Vocals and a drumline are a not how I expected this CD to begin.
  2. Contrail by Kane Ikin  - This is more of what I expected. Tonal but not quite droning, punctuated by plucked strings and other sounds, it floats to an unheard rhythm until, amid a pulsating crescendo, it simply ends.
  3. Cloister (excerpt) by Savvas Ysatis & Taylor Deupree - A richly layered and slowly building tonal structure. Wish I could've heard more than an excerpt.
  4. Saika by Illuha - Piano with background ambient effects and what might be plucked guitar. The sound was in the Eno "Ambient series" tradition, so much so that I couldn't distinguish between Saika and the sounds coming in through the open window (in a good way).
  5. In a Place of Such Graceful Shapes (excerpt) by Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer - A sense of minimalist, peaceful isolation created with guitar and effects. Alone, not lonely. Unhurried.
  6. January 18 2011 (excerpt) by Kenneth Kirschner - A discordant segue from the previous track. Bell-like piano that brings to mind Eno's work for the Clock of the Long Now.
  7. Moss (excerpt) by Moss - Woodwinds bring harmony to the proceedings with what's said to have been a live performance inside a church. The openness of that environment comes through in the recording.
  8. Iris (Familiar) by FourColor - Melody and harmony continue to grow in this guitar piece with a breathy vocal line.
  9. Schwarzchild Radius (excerpt) by Stephan Matthieu - Similar in structure and theme to Cloister above but wrapped by a low-end pulse and something on the high end that's almost vocal. I would like to hear more of this.
  10. Cascadia Obscura by Marcus Fischer - Bits of electronica punctuate the ambience.
  11. Meroo Forest by Seaworthy & Matt Rosner - The forest takes charge in this piece where tone is secondary.
  12. When I Told You by Murralin Lane - Vocals take center stage on this last track, riding on top of a warbling, rumbling sea of tone.
To give you an idea of what this is about, here's a piece by Deupree and Fischer.

You can learn more about 12k at

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

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