What’s this? Somehow, last year, both Mathias Van Eecloo and I completely forgot our annual tradition to publish another eisOtones instalment, in which this prolific French musician and label(s) owner collects 50 tracks from 50 releases of the prior year. How did that happen? I suppose, Mathias was extremely busy wrapping up his monumental Eilean Rec. project, in which he released 100 records based on an imaginary map of 100 points. The final catalogue entry in this imprint [as you can imagine] was number 100 and collected unreleased pieces in an 82-track compilation. Van Eecloo wasted no time there and immediately set off on another venture, titled LAAPS, releasing vinyl records in a permanent continuity of sounds and visual bridges between each one. Another puzzle for you to complete! So I suppose it was a very busy time of endings and new beginnings… but this year we’re back! So, without more words and reflected distractions, here’s a 72-minute journey, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
More than a couple of weeks late, but here we are, with the long-awaited vinyl mix, still marking down, bookmarking, and closing off a year we won't surely miss... but at least there was a lot of awesome music, and as such, thanks to Mike Jedlicka once again, we are celebrating the best it had to give. A fascinating playlist here, with more than a few new artists even to my ears. So yes, I am enjoying it as well! And if you like this beautiful selection, be sure to check out our past archive of Optic Echo Presents mixes, as well as the ongoing Best of 2020 lists, which I intend to finish up this week. Also, I want to quickly point out that this is Mike's 10th vinyl mix for Headphone Commute which we publish at the end of each year - so yeah, we've been at it for a decade now, kids!
Well, it’s almost the end of this dreadful year, and I’ve got one more mix for you before I sign off… This one is episode number 290. Can you believe it? By the way, I was recently forced (by my host) to take all of my past mixes offline. As a result, I’ve migrated the last year of mixes to Podbean. So if you are experiencing any technical difficulties with downloading, streaming, or anything else, please reach out, and we’ll sort it! Meanwhile, this beautiful selection from noition, who last contributed his child of nature mix back in 2017, should get you smooth sailing into the new year. Just look at that amazing tracklist! It’s been on rotation in Headphone Commute studios for a week now (vinyl crackle and all), so as you play it, you can imagine that we’re sharing this experience together, a better thought than listening alone. Anyway, I wish you all serenity, poised mental strength, and healthy choice in lifestyle! I’ll see you [virtually] next year when I return with my Best of 2020 selections!
In case you haven’t heard already, I’ve taken over the Contemplative Classical community, which curated an outstanding Spotify Playlist, hosted a podcast with Matt Emery, and offered the platform for artists to feature a mix. I intend on keeping all of the above going [more on this one a bit later!], with a bit of cross-pollination with Headphone Commute. Most of you already know that I enjoy solo piano and contemporary classical music, and I’m sure many followers of Contemplative Classical will appreciate my musings on here about ambient and cinematic music. I kind of hate to use the word “synergy” but if there was ever one of an appropriate union, it would be HC + CC. Today I wanted to introduce you to the outstanding selection of mixes previously appearing on Contemplative Classical, with the syndication of this gorgeous selection of tracks by a Peruvian pianist and a composer, Sergio Díaz De Rojas. He is also responsible for a site and a label called Piano and Coffee, so you’re in good company here! If you enjoy this, you may want to also follow my SoundCloud account, where I’m currently republishing Contemplative Classical Mixes every Saturday morning.
Shimmering Moods is an independent boutique ambient label based in Amsterdam. In the last couple of years, it has released albums by Halftribe, Andrew Tasselmyer, Anthéne, øjeRum, Purl, and Olan Mill, among the many recognized names in its quickly growing roster of artists. It’s easy to get lost in its catalog among the hazy, shuffling, dubbed-out sounds, glinting and shimmering, reflecting the light off the still misty waters. This is a very tranquil and radiant place, slightly subdued in its faint hazy colors. “The music offers the listener a soundtrack for daydreaming, walks around the city or in nature, a creative activity, meditation, or invites them to a fully concentrated listen.” Today I am happy to share these sounds with you in this special label showcase compiled exclusively for Headphone Commute. And if you like what you hear, be sure to visit the label’s Bandcamp shop, where every limited release is lovingly packaged, hand-made, and bespoke, awaiting to meet at your doorsteps and share its wonders. For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
On today’s Headphone Commute podcast, we’re syndicating an episode of James Murray‘s Slowcraft Radio (episode 4, to be exact), on which this London-based composer and Slowcraft Records label boss showcases some of his favorite pieces. These, of course, include selections released on his own imprint, as well as remixes and collaborations [including one with yours truly] on the extended family of labels, such as Subcontinental, Ultimae, and Home Normal. Among the choices, you’d be happy to hear an Alva Noto cover of The Cure‘s “A Forest”, an excerpt from a beautiful long-form track by An Moku & Stijn Hüwels titled Where We Meet (I’ve got some proper coverage on this release coming up!), and a top pick from our very own album, coming out in just a week, titled Suññatā, on November 17th. This particular episode appeared on October 17th at CAMP, a broadcasting platform for artists offering a “diverse array of audible pleasures,” but for my own taste, I’m not gonna lie, there’s only room for Slowcraft… For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
Kit Grill is a London-based producer and a host at NTS Radio, dabbling in various genres, ranging from Krautrock to New Wave to Post-Punk and Ambient. On November 6th, Grill is releasing his new album, titled Ride, on his own Primary Colours imprint, exploring new timbres, textures, and field recordings using the Fairlight CMI digital synthesizer from the early 80s. To celebrate the release, Kit has put together a Headphone Commute Mix featuring an eclectic selection of his favorite tunes, including a few from the album. It’s a unique excursion into the sound from around the world, with appearances of some early electronic music from the likes of Steve Reich, Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd among the contemporaries, such as Mica Levi, GAS, and Windy & Carl. Grill’s new album will be streaming on November 12th from Ten Studios in East London, meanwhile, sit back, and enjoy the show… For a more detailed description, full track listing and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
For this 285th Headphone Commute Mix, James Norman puts together a selection of tracks as a companion listening session to his recently published book, titled “Micro Record Label: A love letter for music fans; a how-to for the hopeless; a light-hearted, humorous, self-deprecating detour for the uninterested.” The paperback is both a fun read and an important and earnest bit of advice for anyone who even conceives of venturing into a running a small, or rather, a micro record label. Covering everything from design to packaging to promoting and finally selling your goods, this 144-page diary captures the current state of affairs in the music scene outside of the music business. Along the way, Norman mentions many of his favorite releases across various imprints that just seem to do it right. This mix features many of such pieces quoted in the book and serves as a perfect musical journey and as a soundtrack to his recorded words. There are only 200 of these printed, so I recommend that you grab your copy (I see some still available on Rough Trade). Meanwhile, if you want to read an excerpt, you can read this chapter on “Identity” on Headphone Commute. For a more detailed description, full track listing and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
Bigo & Twigetti is a London based label which, in recent years, has brought us an eclectic selection of artists ranging from ambient to electronic to contemporary classical genres and everything in between. Most recently, I’ve been inspired by Ben Crosland and his album The Turn as well as captivated by the always excellent Leah Kardos [who still owes me an introduction to her best friend, Dudley]. Leah has previously made us a Headphone Commute Mix, but for this installment, I’ve asked her to compile a sampler of the label’s offerings to showcase the catalog and hopefully discover some new acts. It’s an eclectic selection of tunes, perfect for your WFH commute. For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
Peter van Cooten of Ambientblog is no stranger to Headphone Commute. We have been musing on our discoveries for almost a decade now, exchanging mixes and words in a tightly knit musical network. His first mix for Headphone Commute podcast appeared back in 2011, titled Dawn Secrets and it features many of my favorite artists to this day. I think it's only fair to say that Dave Michuda of Low Light Mixes is also part of the said "network", with his first mix for Headphone Commute appearing in August of 2010 (also a decade ago), titled The Landscape Listens. For this special syndicated podcast, Dave and Peter create a cooperative voyage, each taking their turns to conduct and maneuver this ship in complex sonic waters to deliver you safely ashore, while in the process forever tattooing their message on your map of existence. Enjoy! For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com